Getting A Flu Shot Is Even More Important During A Pandemic

By: Stacy Barr, RN, BSN

Nurse Care Coordinator

In recognition of National Diabetes Month, Mountain Laurel wants to highlight the importance of vaccinating against the flu during a worldwide pandemic.

It’s recommended every year that people receive the flu vaccine. This year, more than ever, we encourage you to get the flu shot to protect yourself and your community against severe illness and hospitalization.

This fall and winter, the CDC has predicted that both the flu and COVID-19 viruses will be spreading.  Unfortunately, it is possible to get both viruses at the same time. At this time there is no vaccine to protect against COVID-19; however, getting the flu shot can help prevent the spread of the flu and therefore decrease your chances of having both viruses at once.

Preventing the spread of the flu is an important benefit of the flu vaccine, but it also helps reduce the severity of the illness if you are infected with a different version of the flu. This is important in helping decreasing hospitalizations, especially during a time when many hospitals are more full than usual.

Each year, thousands of adults in the United States get sick from diseases that could have been prevented if the person would have been vaccinated. As we age, our immune system weakens, even if we are healthy and active. This alone can put older adults at risk for flu-related complications. The flu can make existing health conditions worse, which is especially dangerous for people with chronic health conditions, like diabetes.

Just to give a few statistics:

  1. People with diabetes are 6 times more likely to be hospitalized due to complications from the flu or pneumonia.
  2. People with diabetes are 3 times more likely to die due to complications from the flu or pneumonia.

Flu vaccination is a Medicare benefit with no copay. Talk to your primary care provider about flu prevention and vaccine options.