Flu season is here, and the advice from the doctor is: Don’t hesitate -- vaccinate.
Having the flu and COVID-19 at the same time is possible, and it could be a deadly combination.
Dr. Rowland Reyna, founder of HealthTexas, answered questions and provided some recommendations about how you can be proactive with your health in the upcoming flu season.
1) What are the benefits of the flu vaccine?
“This is an interesting year because there’s going to be so much going on with the health care system," he said. "When you combine both the flu and COVID-19, it can overwhelm our health care system. I’m recommending everybody get the flu shot this year. The flu shot works. If you were to get (the flu and COVID-19) this year, it could be potentially catastrophic.”
According to HealthTexas, effectiveness for preventing the flu with the flu shot is 40% to 60%. In 2019, flu shots prevented 4.4 million cases of the flu, 58,000 flu-related hospitalizations and 3,500 flu-related deaths.
Generally, the flu kills 60,000 people per year. It is 2 1/2 times more likely to affect children, and it is much more possible to die from the flu than from COVID-19. More importantly, flu vaccinations are associated with lower rates of cardiac events for people with heart disease and will reduce hospitalizations and death in people with lung disease.
2) Does the flu shot prevent you from getting the flu completely?
“For some people, yes -- for others, it significantly lowers hospitalizations placement into ICUs, incubation and deaths,” Reyna said.
3) Can you get the flu and COVID-19 at the same time?
“Yes, and it can be catastrophic. I’m recommending the flu shot," he said.
4) Can I get the flu shot if I am immunocompromised?
“Yes, that is the biggest benefit of the flu shot -- for people with poor immune systems: HIV, cancer, renal failure, chronic medical conditions (diabetes, heart disease) and those over 65 years old," Reyna said.
If you need a primary care doctor, HealthTexas has 17 locations to serve the San Antonio region. All doctors are board-certified in internal medicine or family medicine. Watch the video above for more information about HealthTexas.