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Is the Flu a Threat This Year?

The reality is that the flu is a threat every year. While most people usually don’t pay much attention to it, the flu causes an average of 31.4 million outpatient medical visits each year.

Because of that, getting a flu shot each year is important. It’s even more important than ever this year, so read on as our team at AFC Urgent Care Centennial explains why.

Are the Flu and COVID-19 the Same Thing?

No, while the flu and COVID-19 share many common symptoms, they’re totally different medical conditions. They are both viral illnesses, but the flu is caused by the influenza virus, while COVID-19 is a type of the coronavirus.

In most cases, the flu causes only mild illness, while COVID-19’s effects vary widely and can be quite serious. Another difference? The flu comes on more quickly, causing symptoms within one to four days after exposure.

Flu Symptoms

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Sore throat
  • Runny/stuffy nose
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Muscle aches

Why Is the Flu Shot Important?

You may think of vaccines as a one-time-and-you’re-done thing. But that’s not the case with the flu vaccine, which should be received each year. That’s because the flu vaccine is reformulated each year to provide protection against strains of the flu thought to be most common.

This year, getting a flu shot is especially important. The flu season, which typically lasts from late October through March or April, will coincide with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Outbreaks of both illnesses at once could cause many medical visits and hospitalizations, which could stretch our medical system thin.

Other Ways to Avoid the Flu

  • Wear a cloth face covering to minimize the risk of COVID-19, which will also protect against the flu.
  • Wash your hands often using soap and water for at least 20 seconds each time.
  • Don’t touch your face with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid contact with those who may be sick.
  • Limit time spent in crowds or large gatherings.

The CDC recommends receiving your flu shot by the end of October for maximum protection. Stop by AFC Urgent Care Centennial to get yours!