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What is The Flu & Why Should I Get a Flu Vaccine?

What is The Flu & Why Should I Get a Flu Vaccine?

The flu is a contagious viral illness caused by strains of influenza A or B. Patients suffer from fever, chills, headaches, body aches, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose and cough. Last year there was a significant drop in influenza related deaths, about 600 cases reported compared to 34,000 deaths in the 2018-2019 season. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), there was only 1 reported pediatric death from the flu. This is due to the mask wearing, physical distancing and quarantine that much of the population was under. However this year with much of the country and schools re-opened, it is important to protect ourselves and each other from spreading the flu.

The flu vaccine contains protection from three to four different strains of the influenza virus. Each year a new vaccine is made to cover the strains the experts believe will circulate that year. This is why everyone over 6 months old should get a yearly flu vaccine. Children under 9-years-old getting the flu vaccine for the first time need 2 doses a month apart to boost immunity. The CDC estimated the flu vaccine prevented as many as 3,500 deaths and 58,000 hospitalizations in 2018. This winter with the delta variant of CoVid circulating and schools open for in person teaching, it is just as important to protect oneself from influenza and avoid a “twindemic” of the flu and coronavirus.

The ideal time to receive the flu vaccine is September and October, although you can still receive the vaccine throughout the winter months since peak flu season is typically around January or February. It is important to note it takes a couple of weeks after the flu vaccine is received to have maximum immunity. It is safe to receive the CoVid and Influenza vaccine on the same day. All Torrance Memorial Physician Network primary care offices currently stock this year’s flu vaccine. Contact your physician’s office for an appointment. It is best to plan ahead as offices are still trying to physically distance patients and may not be able to vaccinate as many patients per day as before. Torrance Memorial is currently offering drive-thru testing for COVID-19 ,Flu and RSV testing (by appointment only). Contact your doctor if you need testing.

Dr. Annette Liu 

Torrance Memorial Physician Network Carson Peds