Flu shots urged to help curb “twindemic”

Healthbeat

WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) Flu shot or not is a debate some of us may have. But experts say it is important as ever to get one this flu season.

“I get mine every year,” said Rhonda Wydra.

The Wapwallopen woman plans on getting her flu shot because she remembers when she had the flu.

“Once a long time ago, and that’s why I started getting the flu shot. And I’ve never had it since,” she said.

“We received our flu vaccines about a week ago and we have started to have people come in for them,” said pharmacist Stephanie Cook, PharmD with Harrold’s Pharmacy in Wilkes-Barre.

The CDC blames last flu season on up to 56 million infections and 62,000 deaths.

“It is always easier to prevent a disease than to treat it and this fall we will have two very severe respiratory illnesses,” said JoAnn Adkins, Senior Infection Preventionist with Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority.

A “twindemic” as some are calling it with the flu and COVID-19 co-existing. While there is no vaccine yet for COVID-19, there is for the flu.

“If you can prevent or minimize the illness of one of those two diseases it is definitely something you need to do,” said Adkins.

Everyone six months and older is encouraged to get the flu vaccine every flu season but especially this flu season.

“The reason it’s more important is, it is very possible as they are two separate viruses to develop both at the same time at which case your immune system would be totally overwhelmed and you would have a very difficult course of fighting both of them off,” said Adkins.

Overwhelming more than patients. Up to nearly three quarters of a million people were hospitalized with the flu last flu season.

“We’re already worried about hospitalizations from COVID and with both diseases circulating at the same time, it could increase hospitalizations, increase burden on our medical system,” said Ms. Cook.

You don’t need to make an appointment to get a flu shot at the pharmacy but it is recommended that you have your insurance information handy so that you’re not charged for it.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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