It’s that time of year again — “flu season,” or the months that influenza is most widely spread, is beginning.
You’ve likely heard that flu vaccination is the most effective treatment for preventing the flu. This year, in particular, flu vaccines are more important than ever before. As COVID-19 remains ongoing, cases of COVID-19 and the flu will begin to coincide. Even for those without other major risk factors, getting COVID-19 and the flu at the same time could be dangerous.
Additionally, we all want to ensure that our state has the resources to care for both COVID-19 and flu patients. While the flu vaccine will not prevent COVID-19, it will help reduce the burden this could cause. This means that it is vital for everyone to protect themselves and their family in the best way possible by getting their flu shot.
Who Needs a Flu Shot?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that anyone age 6 months and older receive the flu vaccine every single year. Vaccination is particularly important for people who are at high risk for serious flu complications, including the following:
- Young children
- Pregnant women
- People with chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes, heart disease, and lung disease
- People age 65 years and older
- People who live with or care for anyone at high risk for serious flu complications
Getting your flu shot helps ensure that you and everyone around you are protected. Additionally, if you have been vaccinated but still contract the flu, you will be better protected from severe complications or even death.
Where Do You Get a Flu Shot?
Flu shots are readily available now at locations throughout Arkansas. You can get your flu shot at a location convenient to you, including:
- Your primary care provider. Don’t have one? Find a Baptist Health primary care clinic near you (insurance filed or nominal fee may apply).
- Urgent care clinics. Find a Baptist Health Urgent Care clinic near you (insurance filed or nominal fee may apply).
- Free flu shot clinic events. Baptist Health is hosting several free flu shot clinics in the month of October for adults age 18 and older. Find a time and date that works for you.
- Your local pharmacy or drugstore (insurance filed or nominal fee may apply)
When Do You Get a Flu Shot?
Now! You should try to get your flu shot as soon as possible this year to ensure you’re protected early.
How Else Can You Prevent the Flu?
Many of the best defenses we have against the flu are the same tactics we’ve been using for protection against COVID-19. This includes:
- Avoiding people who are sick
- Washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not readily available
- Ensuring your nose and mouth are covered when coughing or sneezing
- Avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
- Staying home if you do not feel well
- Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces
We want to encourage our community to stay healthy and protect themselves from the flu by getting their annual flu shot, in addition to proper hand hygiene and other safety measures. The very best way to prevent the flu is by being vaccinated every year. Looking for more information on the flu and flu vaccination? Visit our Health Library.