Vaccination Is Essential . . . Especially This Flu Season

This week’s Wellness Wednesday column is provided courtesy of Central Carolina Hospital.

At Central Carolina Hospital, our mission is Making Communities Healthier, and one of the most important ways we do that is by ensuring that our community understands how to fight preventable diseases, like the flu. Given the challenges posed by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic this year, it has never been more important to be proactive about your health. Fortunately, there are a few simple things you can do to protect yourself, your family and our community; prevent the flu from spreading; and even speed up your recovery if you do become ill.

First – and most importantly – make the wise decision to get vaccinated. Flu vaccination is the single-best way to protect yourself from the virus. While it is still possible to contract the flu after getting vaccinated, it is much less likely; and should you get sick, studies show that flu vaccinations can make your illness less severe. Plus, getting your vaccination will help give you valuable peace of mind that you’re doing everything you can to guard against the flu, particularly as the COVID-19 pandemic surges on. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) believes it is possible to test positive for flu (as well as other respiratory pathogens) and the virus that causes COVID-19 at the same time. So while there still isn’t a vaccine for COVID-19, you can – and most certainly should – take advantage of the flu shot to reduce your risk of illness this fall and winter.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a yearly influenza vaccination for everyone six months of age and older as the first and best form of prevention against the flu. Studies show that, not only can the flu vaccine reduce your risk of illness by about 50 to 60 percent, but it can also make your illness milder, should you contract the flu. This important step can result in fewer doctor visits, less time missed from your daily routines and fewer flu-related hospitalizations. By preventing the spread of the virus, you’re also helping others in your community stay healthy. Older people, pregnant women, young children and those with health conditions are especially vulnerable to serious complications from this illness.

Central Carolina Hospital is taking the appropriate steps at our facility to help prevent the flu, COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses from spreading by taking these measures:

  • Implementing universal masking for patients, providers, employees, visitors and anyone entering our facility
  • Setting up stations stocked with alcohol-based sanitizers, tissues and hands-free trash cans throughout our facility
  • Enhancing our already stringent cleaning and disinfection protocols
  • Encouraging all patients, staff and visitors to get their flu vaccination
  • Providing educational materials to all visitors about everyday preventive actions
  • Limiting visitors to help limit the spread of infection

If you or someone you know begins to notice symptoms including coughing, sore throat, fever or other upper respiratory symptoms, please see your healthcare provider right away. Many of the most common symptoms of flu are also consistent with COVID-19, so it may be hard to tell the difference between them. Testing may be needed to help confirm a diagnosis. If you have any questions or concerns about this year’s flu season, we can help. Simply call 919.774.2100.

For additional information about the 2020-21 flu season, visit the CDC website. Or click here for more flu guidance from Central Carolina Hospital.