The One Health Appointment You Definitely Shouldn't Skip This Year
You may be nervous to visit the doctor, but this one appointment should not be missed.
You're not alone if you're nervous to go to the doctor these days. After all, you were warned at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic to steer clear of any medical facilities unless it was an emergency. But now, public health and medical experts are urgently reminding everyone that there's one pivotal appointment you can't afford to miss this year: getting your flu shot.
As you've likely heard, many states have seen a surge in coronavirus cases in the past few weeks, and recent expert projections are predicting as many as 200,000 deaths by October 1. Until a vaccine or reliable therapeutic treatment can be made available broadly, the number of cases will likely continue to increase, keeping medical facilities busy dealing with coronavirus cases. And that's precisely why medical professionals want to remind patients that hospitals can't afford to deal with both an increase in COVID-related cases and the seasonal surge of influenza patients.
In an interview with The Washington Post in April, Robert Redfield, MD, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), urged everyone to get their flu shot to free up resources for fighting the coronavirus. The first wave of COVID-19 hit in the U.S. just as the flu season was winding down, which was lucky, Redfield noted. But, we may not be so lucky the second time. "There's a possibility that the assault of the virus on our nation next winter will actually be even more difficult than the one we just went through," Redfield said. "We're going to have the flu epidemic and the coronavirus epidemic at the same time."
If a COVID-19 outbreak and flu outbreak had hit at the same time, "it could have been really, really, really, really difficult in terms of health capacity," he added.
Redfield said that only about 47 percent of Americans get flu shots every year. But getting a flu vaccination this year, he noted, "may allow there to be a hospital bed available for your mother or grandmother that may get coronavirus."
That's why an essential strategy to lessen a second wave of the coronavirus is to boost the flu vaccination rate in the U.S., enabling a dangerously taxed health-care system to continue focusing on patients with COVID-19. And for more on a second wave of coronavirus, check out Here's When the Second Wave of Coronavirus Is Coming, Doctors Warn.