What Makes This Year Different? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that nearly every age 6 months and older be vaccinated against the flu each year. Why is it so important this year, though? Think about the timing—flu season typically begins in October and runs through March or April. This year, that’s intersecting with the COVID-19 pandemic and a potential winter flare-up of that virus, which could make the season even more potent.
Facts About the Flu
- Like COVID-19, the flu is a contagious respiratory virus.
- Flu can range from mild to severe and in some cases can be life-threatening.
- Flu spreads through airborne droplets.
- About 8% of the U.S. population gets the flu each year.
- People are most contagious in the first four days after symptoms begin.
How Can I Prevent the Flu?Your best defense is to get a flu shot. The vaccine is reformulated each year to protect against the strains of the flu thought to be most common. Regardless of the vaccine’s effectiveness rate, it boosts your immune system and makes you less likely to get sick. If you do end up with the flu, it’s likely your case will be shorter and less severe. Experts recommend getting your shot by the end of October.
- Wash your hands regularly with soap and water.
- Disinfect commonly touched surfaces often.
- Avoid touching your face with unwashed hands.
- Follow guidelines related to mask use when in public to reduce risk of COVID-19 and the flu.
- Steer clear of close contact with those who are sick.