Time to get flu shot is now, doctors urge: Or ‘roll the dice’


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Experts say flu vaccines can help ease the burden on the medical system

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The best time to get a flu shot is now, medical experts told Granthshala News, after a historic low last year left doctors concerned over patients’ greater susceptibility to flu-related illness.

Early administration of the flu vaccine can reduce the burden on the medical system and protect at-risk populations from worse outcomes such as hospitalization and death. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), everyone 6 months of age and older should get the all-season flu vaccine, with rare exceptions.


Clinical Professor of Medicine and Infectious Diseases at Stanford University, Dr. “It’s totally reasonable to get vaccinated right now,” Stanley Deresinsky told Granthshala News, adding that the recommendation to get the flu shot extends through the end of October. “You can roll the dice and get in later with the impression that flu season is going to come later wherever you are.”

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Experts attribute the historic decrease in flu activity last year to preventive measures, such as masking, distancing and hand hygiene, taken during the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. Gregory Poland, infectious disease specialist and director of the Mayo Clinic’s Vaccine Research Group, is concerned about a possible so-called “triidemic” this year, in which there is overlap between COVID-19, influenza and RSV. [respiratory syncytial virus] Cases, however, are difficult to predict.

Deresinski said doctors start worrying about the flu in October, with cases typically rising in November-December, while the West Coast sees peaks later in the season. Most flu cases involve the upper airway, with symptoms such as a sore throat and a persistent cough, but some infections can progress to the lungs, causing pneumonia, which can be fatal, he said.

As of September 18, 2021, the proportion of outpatient visits for influenza-like illness activity remained low-to-low in nearly all US states, according to data reported to ILINEt, the CDC-led flu surveillance network.

Meanwhile, national positive PCR-tests for RSV, a common respiratory virus that usually results in mild, cold-like symptoms, rose from about 1% in mid-April to 12.8% by September 25, an unusual summer. suggests growth. RSV can be problematic for certain age groups, such as infants because it can lead to bronchiolitis, affecting the lower lungs, Deracinski explained, while also noting the potential issues of immunological conditions for adults. According to the CDC, most RSV infections clear up on their own and there is no specific treatment for RSV, although efforts are underway to develop medications. To ease symptoms, the agency recommends taking acetaminophen or ibuprofen, plenty of fluids and consulting a healthcare provider.

The three respiratory diseases at hand (COVID-19, influenza and RSV) cause overlapping symptoms, and experts told Granthshala News it is difficult to reliably differentiate between them, making a significant issue in America’s colder months. And providers face trials. Patient for multiple respiratory pathogens.

“Imagine having COVID and the flu together, how does this affect your complication rate, your risk of dying, especially if you have an underlying disease or are elderly?” Poland said.

new test result It was safe to receive a COVID-19 vaccine and flu shot at the same time, supporting US health recommendations on vaccine co-administration, according to a British study released Thursday.

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