Flu season is around the corner, while we're still fighting the Covid-19 pandemic — so naturally, everyone is thinking about the flu shot now more than ever. And everyone has lots of questions.
Thankfully, physician and new host of "The Doctors," Dr. Ian Smith, is breaking down everything you need to know about getting the flu vaccine during the pandemic — and explaining why it may be more important than ever to get one.
Should I get the flu shot during the Covid-19 pandemic?
"If you think about the time that we're in right now, this may be — in my lifetime, at least — the most important time to get the flu vaccine, and let me explain to you why. We actually inhale the flu, the flu goes into our respiratory tree, and it multiplies in our lungs. After it multiplies, it then actually gets into our bloodstream. That is how the flu is disseminated throughout your body. Now, think about it, Covid-19 also works in a very similar fashion. We actually get it through aerosols or respiratory droplets, it goes into our lungs. So think about it — you don't want to have the flu and have Covid at the same time, because they both will depress your immune system, and you could have very bad outcomes. This is the time to get the flu vaccine, for sure."
Does the flu shot help against Covid-19?
"Please be very clear — the flu vaccine attacks the flu virus," Dr. Ian says. "It has nothing to do with Covid. You can still get Covid and suffer consequences, so please, you still need to practice your safety protocols for the coronavirus."
Where should I get the flu shot?
"Obviously, your doctor's office is probably the safest, they're following very stringent protocols. Very limited amounts of people are going in," Dr. Ian says. "But, think about it, if you go to your local pharmacy — which I typically do — it [poses] the same risk of going grocery shopping, so you're not increasing your risk."
"You cannot get the flu from the flu shot," the physician explains. "The flu vaccine or flu shot is a dead virus and it doesn't cause an illness. What it does is primes your immune system, so that your immune system will recognize it if you actually get one of the flu strains after the vaccine."
Can I still get the flu if I get the flu shot?
"The flu vaccine doesn't cover all strains of the flu," the doctor explains. "There are tons of strains of the flu virus, and what it does cover is those viruses, those strains that we think are most prevalent. So you can get the flu vaccine and still get the flu because you may be infected by a different strain. That being said, here's the deal — if you get the flu vaccine and you actually get sick with another flu strain, you may have less severe symptoms, because getting the vaccine primes your immune system to be able to attack other different types of strains of the flu, and so you get less sick. That's very important."