By Derick Young, M.D.
Though COVID-19 is on everyone’s mind, it’s important to not forget that flu season is right around the corner. That means it’s time to become a Flu Fighter and get a flu shot. At WellMed, patients on Medicare qualify for free flu shots.
We offer two ways to provide flu vaccinations safely and quickly as you sit in your car:
- Make an appointment at your WellMed clinic. When you arrive at the clinic, stay in your car and one of our health care professionals will come to you to give you the vaccination.
- Attend one of our drive-through flu shot clinics. Just drive to the location when it’s time and get your shot.
This year the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is recommending that everyone get their flu shot in September, or by the end of October, so they will be protected for as long as possible. If you are unable to get it then, flu vaccinations will be offered throughout the flu season – it’s never too late to get your flu shot. It is especially important to get a flu shot this year because of COVID-19. It is possible to get both the flu and COVID-19 at the same time. Although the flu shot will not keep you from getting COVID-19, it will protect you from getting sick with both illnesses at the same time.
There are several myths about getting a flu shot, but –here is the truth:
- You cannot get sick from the flu shot.
- The shot helps your body build antibodies that fight the flu.
- Getting a flu shot will not make you more likely to get COVID-19.
- Any side effects from the shot are mild compared to getting a flu infection.
- If you do not get a flu shot, you are more likely to get the flu.
Even if you got a flu shot last year, you still need one this year. Your body’s ability to fight off the flu after vaccination fades over time.
If you have concerns about a life-threatening allergy or a medical condition that could affect your immune system, talk with your doctor. The vaccine we are using in our clinics does not contain any egg components.
In addition to getting your flu shot there are a few other ways to keep from getting the flu and COVID-19:
- Wash your hands several times a day with soap and water for 20 seconds. If you can’t use soap and water, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that is at least 60% alcohol.
- Wear a face mask every time you leave your home.
- Keep your hands away from your face – you can transfer both influenza and COVID-19 viruses by touching your nose, eyes and mouth.
- Keep at least six feet away from other people.
The best reason to get a flu shot is that it protects your health and the health of your loved ones. The CDC estimates that last year as many as 62,000 people died from the flu or flu-related complications and half a million people were hospitalized.
Please call your WellMed clinic to find out when you can get a flu shot and be a Flu Fighter!
Derick Young, M.D. is a family medicine physician and senior medical director with WellMed Medical Management. He is a Beaumont, Texas, native and a graduate of The University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Young completed his medical education and residency with UT Health San Antonio.