Every year, the flu season arrives on schedule — whether we like it or not. The winter of 2020-21 will be no different. However, there are some especially compelling reasons to get vaccinated this year.
For starters, we are in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. The fact that the flu and the new coronavirus will be circulating at the same time makes it extra important to stay healthy.
Here are several other good reasons for getting an influenza vaccine this year.
1. It can keep you from getting sick — or worse
Yes, this one is a bit obvious. But too many people take the flu lightly, figuring it amounts to no more than sniffles, a sore throat and a fever that lasts a few days.
For millions of people, that is indeed the case. But each year, the flu kills tens of thousands in the U.S. alone. And some of those people are young. Last flu season, 166 children died of the illness.
By comparison, about 90 children had died of the coronavirus by early August, according to a CNN report.
2. It protects others who cannot shield themselves
Some people should not get the flu shot. This includes those who are younger than 6 months of age, and those who have specific allergies and medical conditions, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
By getting the flu shot, you reduce the spread of the illness — and protect those who are especially vulnerable because they are not vaccinated, or are simply older and more vulnerable to the ravages of the flu.
3. It keeps hospitals from becoming overwhelmed
Remember the lockdown? OK, we know the answer: You’ll never forget it.
The major reason the nation locked down was to keep hospitals and other medical facilities from being overwhelmed with sick patients. This fall, those facilities could again be pushed to the limit if both the flu and the coronavirus infect large numbers of people at the same time.
Getting the flu shot reduces your odds of becoming seriously ill — and helps take pressure off the medical system.
4. It’s free for many folks
If you are on Medicare health insurance, the flu shot likely will not cost you a dime. That is also true for a large percentage of other types of health insurance plans.
Check with your provider to be sure, but the odds are good that you will not have to pay anything to be vaccinated.
5. You can get rewards for getting vaccinated
Doing the right thing for yourself and the community deserves a reward. And several retailers want to help you claim it.
Target, CVS, Walgreens and Publix are all among the retailers currently offering a reward or freebie for those who get flu shots at their locations. For more, check out “4 Retailers That Will Reward You for Getting a Flu Shot in 2020.”
6. Getting vaccinated could help lower your risk of Alzheimer’s
A study presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in July suggests that getting even a one-time flu shot can reduce your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, as we reported in “Getting These 2 Shots Could Reduce Your Risk of Dementia.”
Getting the vaccine consistently can reduce your risk even more, according to the findings.