The holidays are here, and this season is typically associated with Christmas lights, trees, presents, family, and time off from work. However, the holidays also correlate with flu season, which usually peaks by mid-December. The CDC has confirmed that there will be a flu season this year, as compared to last year when transmission of the flu was greatly lowered while our country was still in the midst of social distancing measures, business and venue capacity limitations, and school closures to slow the spread of COVID-19.
With the media narratives still heavily focused on preventing the spread of COVID-19 infection, it’s just as important to underline the importance of minimizing the spread of the seasonal flu. Last year, COVID-19 cases spiked during the winter months leading into 2021. Having another spike in COVID cases alongside a severe flu season could prove to be disastrous and burdensome to hospitals and our healthcare system as a whole.
Every year since 2010, the CDC estimates the potential burden of flu season, and these estimates have ranged anywhere from 12,000 deaths / 140,000 hospitalizations to 52,000 deaths / 710,000 hospitalizations. Extra precaution should be taken this year as seasonal strains of the flu have already begun to spread amid the ongoing spread of Coronavirus variants.
Just like with preventing COVID-19 spread and infection, according to the CDC, “The single best way to reduce the risk of seasonal flu and its potentially serious complications is to get vaccinated each year.” The good news is that getting a flu shot is simple. The CDC makes it super simple through their vaccine finder. Furthermore, a recent study published by Lancet has shown that it’s completely safe to get both the flu and COVID-19 vaccines at the same time. Similar to the COVID-19 vaccine, mild side effects are to be expected, such as a sore arm, muscle aches, or a low-grade fever for a day or two after getting a shot.
If you’re unable to get vaccinated in time for the holidays, the next best thing you can do to prevent spreading it is to get tested before your family gatherings. Given that the same protocols hold true for preventing the spread of COVID-19, we recommend getting a COVID-19 Antigen + Flu Combo Test. This test is used to rapidly detect COVID-19, Influenza A, and Influenza B all-in-one. This test has emergency use authorization from the FDA and is conducted by nasal swab.
We highly recommend this test for all individuals and especially those with symptoms. If you’d like to receive this test, use our testing location tracker to find a COVID Clinic location nearest to you. Remember, the more precautions we take against both the flu and COVID-19 this year, the more we’ll be able to enjoy this time of year with our family and loved ones. Stay safe and happy holidays everyone!