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  • Flu Shots More Important Than Ever This Year

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    October 07, 2020
    Flu Shots More Important Than Ever This Year
    Flu vaccinations for all family members 6 months and older can prevent serious illness
    MILTON, Florida, October 7, 2020 – Santa Rosa Medical Center is encouraging everyone aged 6 months and older to get a flu shot this fall.  The flu shot is a safe, proven way to lower the risk of getting the flu, which can cause a severe upper respiratory illness.  The COVID-19 pandemic makes getting a flu shot, and taking every precaution possible to avoid the flu and other illnesses, even more important this year.
    While the flu vaccination will not prevent or protect against COVID-19, it can reduce the impact of flu-related respiratory illnesses, hospitalizations and deaths. And because it is possible to have the flu and COVID-19 at the same time, doctors anticipate that patients with co-infections will likely be sicker and have poorer outcomes.
    Lowering the risk of flu also can help prevent a situation that overwhelms the U.S. health system. Surges of COVID-19 patients have already challenged the healthcare system in some communities. If those surges return in the fall and winter, hospitals could be challenged in caring for all of the patients that need medical attention.
    Adults with chronic conditions like diabetes or heart disease are at greater risk for severe complications from flu. For example, flu can make glucose control more difficult for diabetics, and those with heart disease can have increased risk for another heart attack. Others at high risk for influenza complications include infants and young children, children with neurologic conditions, pregnant women, and adults age 65 years and older.
    But healthy people should get flu shots, too, to reduce their risk of getting the flu and also to lower the risk of spreading it to others who are at risk. Flu shots are widely available right now, and in many cases, they are covered by insurance plans.  Because flu shots can take a couple of weeks to take effect, doctors recommend getting a flu shot as soon as possible.
    Santa Rosa Medical Group is offering flu vaccination for current and new patients. Individuals are advised to get vaccinated between October and early November for the best protection throughout the flu season. As long as flu viruses are circulating, vaccination should continue, even in January or later. Vaccines work with the body’s natural defenses to develop protection from disease.  To find a primary care provider, visit https://www.santarosamedicalgroup.com/  to schedule a flu shot.
    Santa Rosa Medical Group physician practices are taking extra precautions to maintain a clean and safe environment for patients and caregivers. Safety remains the highest priority, and procedures are in place to enhance infection prevention including universal masking of staff and patients and limiting the numbers of patients at any one time to minimize waiting.
    During the 2019-2020 influenza season, the CDC estimates there were between 39 and 56 million flu illnesses and as many as 700,000 hospitalizations from the flu.  But the good news is that a flu shot can protect against illness now and throughout the months ahead. And, here’s more good news:
    Precautions that have been adopted to protect against COVID-19 also can help prevent the spread of illnesses like the flu. So, wear a mask when in public, practice social distancing, thoroughly wash hands, maintain cough/sneeze hygiene, and clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
    The Lancet – SARS—CoV-2 and influenza virus co-infection, May 16, 2020 https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(20)31052-7/fulltext
    BMJ Public Health Emergency Collection, Coinfection with SARS-CoV-2 and influenza A virus, July 1, 2020
    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - https://www.cdc.gov/flu/index.htm; https://www.cdc.gov/flu/season/faq-flu-season-2020-2021.htm
    Cindy Drummond
    cynthia.drummond@srmcfl.com, (850) 626-5106