Today’s Solutions: June 13, 2024

In the northern hemisphere, flu season peaks from December to February with 40 million to 50 million Americans contracting the virus on average. This year, because of the pandemic, it’s more important than ever to get your flu shot. 

You might ask, I’m not leaving my house or seeing other people, so why do I need a flu shot? Although avoiding social gatherings and public spaces like schools means a reduced chance of contracting the flu, you still face the risk of getting it from necessary outings like going to the grocery store or the gas station or from other members of your household. 

The flu shot is extra important this year because the convergence of flu hospitalizations and a COVID-19 peak could overwhelm medical facilities. Just like we worked to flatten the COVID-19 curve in March and again in July to conserve medical resources, getting the flu shot is a good way to ensure we do not over-stress the capacity of our medical facilities. Epidemiologist George Rutherford, MD, told UCSF, “This year, any reduction in flu cases and their severity could make a difference for hospital capacity.”

In addition to saving space in medical facilities, if everyone gets the flu shot, it helps protect those who are most vulnerable, like the elderly and young children, from contracting what could potentially be a deadly case of the flu. Also, diseases like the flu can weaken the immune system, making COVID a more deadly virus than it already is. 

It’s always important to get the flu shot, but this year is especially crucial. Even if you’re not concerned about catching the flu yourself, getting a flu shot is one of the most effective ways you can help protect your fellow citizens from disease, conserve medical resources for those in need, and promote community health.

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