BATON ROUGE, La (BRPROUD) — While there has been a major focus on the COVID-19 vaccines, the peak of flu season is fast approaching.
Baton Rouge General Family Medicine Physician Dr. Rachael Kermis said there has been a focus on alleviating the pressure put on hospitals because of COVID-19 and, as a result, the conversation about flu shots has fallen through the cracks.
“We do worry that if you get both of them in the most severe form, that it would be something that could make you end up in the hospital potentially needing a ventilator,” said Dr. Kermis.
The month of October brings in the beginning of flu season and although flu cases have been low, health experts are stressing the need to take preventative measures against possible respiratory infections. For people who are fully vaccinated for COVID-19, Dr. Kermis is still urging them to get a flu shot as well.
“The way the shots works is, they kind of identify specific things within that virus, there’s not really any cross-reactivity between them,” said Dr. Kermis. “I do have to remind all my patients that just because you get the flu shot, it does not mean that you are immune against Covid.”
Dr. Kermis recommends getting your flu shot by the end of October.
“It is something that normally kind of comes in the middle of the winter, and it peaks kind of by February through April,” said Dr. Kermis.
The flu and COVID-19 are both contagious respiratory illnesses but are caused by different viruses — both vaccines serve two different purposes.
“If you have any concerns with it I tell people you can wait about three weeks between the two just to make sure you don’t get overwhelmed, some people are worried they might have more side effects with it,” said Dr. Kermis.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says just about everybody needs an annual flu vaccination, starting with 6-month-old babies. Influenza is most dangerous for adults over the age of 65, young children, pregnant women and people with certain health conditions, such as heart or lung disease.