(BPT) – If you are living with certain chronic medical conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes or asthma, you are at higher risk of developing serious complications from flu, like pneumonia, bronchitis and other illnesses that can lead to hospitalization or even death. Even if your chronic condition is well-controlled, flu can make your condition worse — it can trigger asthma attacks, increase the risk of heart disease and stroke, and make your blood sugar harder to manage. Flu vaccination is recommended to protect you from severe flu-related illness and help keep your chronic condition under control.
Every year, flu is responsible for millions of illnesses, tens of thousands of hospitalizations and thousands of deaths. Last flu season, 9 out of 10 adults hospitalized with flu had at least one reported underlying medical condition. The most commonly reported underlying medical conditions in patients hospitalized for flu include heart disease, diabetes, obesity and chronic lung disease. A flu shot reduces your risk of getting sick with flu, but even if getting a flu shot does not completely prevent flu infection, some studies show that it can help reduce the severity of illness and prevent complications that can result in hospitalization and death.
Getting vaccinated against flu is always extra important for people with certain chronic conditions, but as the U.S. battles the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s more important than ever. Flu and COVID-19 together could overwhelm our medical systems. A flu shot this season can help protect you from flu and reduce your risk of needing medical care for flu-related complications. We can all do our part to reduce the spread of flu and protect our loved ones and our community from flu, saving medical resources to care for COVID-19 patients.
There’s still time to get a flu shot. “Flu activity is still low right now, which means it’s a good time to get vaccinated,” says Dr. Dan Jernigan, Influenza Division Director at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “We don’t know what this season will bring, but we know that a flu vaccine can reduce the risk from flu. Part of our preparedness strategy this winter is to take flu out of the equation as much as possible. Getting a flu vaccine can help do that so there is one less thing to worry about.” Hundreds of millions of flu shots have been safely given in the United States for decades. Data show that getting a flu shot is the best way to protect against flu.
Reduce your risks from flu this season. Get vaccinated now to protect yourself, your loved ones and your community from flu. We can all fight flu. Make it your priority today — go to VaccineFinder.org to find a vaccination location near you.