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Does the flu shot protect you against coronavirus?


The flu shot can help protect you from the flu virus. Find out why it is important to get one this year.

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One of the keys to slow down and exit Covid-19 pandemic is one safe and effective vaccine. In the meantime, there is a new vaccine that is also the key to protecting you this winter – and due to coronavirus, you may have another reason to get a flu shot this year.

To be clear, the flu shot cannot protect you from COVID-19. But just because it can not give you the antibodies you need to fight coronavirus, health authorities and experts are urging people to get the flu vaccine this year, especially for fear that we will face a “twindemic” of both influenza and coronavirus.

In addition, a preliminary (not yet peer-reviewed) observational study was released in July suggesting that influenza vaccination may reduce the risk of death for COVID-19. Researchers examined 92,664 COVID-19 patients in Brazil and looked at the results of those who received flu water in 2020 and those who did not (Brazil’s highest flu season is April to July). The results showed that those who got the flu shot and became ill with COVID-19 were 17% less likely to die from coronavirus complications.

Again, we are not saying that getting a flu shot will protect you from getting coronavirus or developing serious COVID-19 complications. However, given that we do not yet have a coronavirus vaccine, researchers are investigating all options to slow the spread of the virus and prevent infected people from dying. A big part of that is keeping us healthy so that another virus-like influenza – does not weaken ours immune system.

The CDC advises the public to start getting their flu shots now and says the best time to do so is in September or October. There are many things to keep in mind when it comes to flu vaccine and COVID-19. To answer all your questions, I asked two experts to weigh in.

Can the flu shot help protect you from COVID-19?

Simply put, the answer is no. The research from Brazil was an observational study that analyzed data on how the flu vaccine can affect COVID-19 results, rather than a clinical trial to test how effective the flu vaccine would be against coronavirus. And although the authors found that a flu shot correlated with fewer deaths from COVID-19, they recognize that there are many variables that affect a patient’s outcomes, including their genes and health status before they were affected by the virus.

Asked about her opinion on the study, infectious experts Sandra Kesh said, “It is a little too early to draw any conclusions from such a study. One of the things we always theorize about in infectious disease and the immune world is that you activate the immune system by to get a vaccine so that it can help with other infections, but everything is theoretical. ”

The concept she refers to is called bystander immunity, and she notes that it may explain the results of the study. “I think it is unclear to what extent it plays against other factors [in this study]”she says.” For example, are people who get the flu vaccine more cautious in general or with better health in general? Is the lower mortality rate even from the flu vaccine itself or other factors that happen to exist in that population? It will be very interesting to see what happens when they actually publish this in a peer-reviewed publication. “


Influenza symptoms and COVID-19 symptoms can be similar, making it difficult to diagnose them without a test.

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3 reasons why you should still get flu shots this year

Despite the lack of evidence that the flu shot can protect you against the coronavirus, the authors of the Brazil study and other medical experts agree that it is important for the public to get the flu vaccine. This is especially true for people who are at high risk for serious COVID-19 cases, such as those who have ongoing health problems.

Although we do not know everything about how the flu vaccine can affect COVID-19 results, continue reading for more reasons why it is important to get the flu vaccine this year.

1. To avoid getting the flu and COVID-19 at the same time (yes, it is possible)

“These viruses are two completely different species, so vaccinating against one will not protect you from the other,” says Dr. Daren Wu, Chief Medical Officer at Open Door Family Medical Center. “What you definitely do not want is one or two strokes get both viruses, which is entirely possible. “

If there is anything worse than being sick once, it would be getting sick with two potentially serious illnesses at the same time.

“You do not want to get the flu and COVID at the same time,” agrees Dr. Kesh. “It’s a situation that we really have to try to prevent. In an older population it would be catastrophic. People who are coinfected will have a very hard time. And even in younger adults, one of the infectious diseases really knocks you out, but the two together would be very worrying. “

In addition, Dr. claims Wu that it is important to get flu shots because getting sick can lower your immune system and make you more susceptible to other infections. “Our thoughts are on COVID-19, but getting the flu will lower your immune system and may make you more susceptible to all types of secondary infections, including bacterial infections and other viruses like COVID-19,” he says.

2. Flu and COVID-19 symptoms may appear

Influenza and COVID-19 have a lot overlaps the symptoms, which can be very confusing if you start to get sick. But getting the flu vaccine can help you feel more confident that it is not the flu – or at least that you do not have the flu except for another infection.

“In addition to the loss of smell and taste, the symptoms of COVID-19 and flu almost completely overlap. And of course they will test you, but we know that the tests are not perfect and much of this will be a clinical diagnosis. So it helps that Figure out what is causing your symptoms, says Dr. Kesh.

3. To reduce the degree of infectious disease

The reality is that we are facing a global pandemic that will not end soon and we must prepare for another contagious disease that can be life-threatening at the same time. But the good news is that what you are doing to prevent COVID-19 (as wearing face mask and social distancing) can also help prevent the flu, making these safety measures twice as important in the coming months.

“I think [people need] to remember that they both actually spread in the same way (in close contact or droplet spreading) and aerosol transfer is probably a factor in COVID-19, but we do not know how much of a factor yet, says Dr. Kesh. “Mask use and social distancing is never 100%, when you enter the cold weather season where people will be more indoors there will be much more opportunity to spread the flu and COVID-19. So that gives you another reason to protect yourself. “

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The information in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified healthcare provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health goal.

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