The Importance of Getting Your Annual Flu Shot

By: Kate Hughes, ARNP-BC

woman sitting with obgyn doctor asking high risk pregnancy questions

Flu season is upon  us and all over the nation we are starting to see cases of influenza. 

Getting your annual flu vaccination is more important than ever this year.  Your providers at Women’s Care encourage you to get a flu vaccine, especially amid the 

COVID-19 pandemic, which also affects the respiratory system.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that every person 6 months of age and older should get a flu vaccine every season, with rare exception. Pregnant women, young children, elderly, and people with chronic diseases or weakened immune systems are at greater risk of developing serious complications from the flu.

Pregnant and breastfeeding women 

We recommend that our pregnant patients receive a flu shot to protect both mothers and babies from the flu. The flu shot is your best protection from the flu. It is especially important for our pregnant patients to protect themselves as the flu is more likely to cause severe illness in pregnant women than in women of reproductive age who are not pregnant.

The flu shot is a thoroughly tested and approved vaccine that is important in the health of mothers and babies. The CDC affirms that “vaccination has been shown to reduce the risk of flu-associated acute respiratory infection in pregnant women by about one-half” and reduces hospitalization by 40 percent.

Breastfeeding women should also get vaccinated to protect both the mother and baby. The flu shot reduces the mother’s risk of getting sick and of passing the illness on to her baby. This is especially important for infants younger than 6 months who are not yet able to be vaccinated.

COVID-19 and the flu

In this time of unprecedented medical challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the providers at Women’s Care are doing all we can to help keep mothers and their babies healthy. We recommend hand washing, physical distancing and mask wearing to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Preventing the spread of flu is especially important during the COVID-19 pandemic because it is possible for people to become infected with both the flu and COVID-19. Health experts are still studying this scenario. Community protection from the flu can also help with the current over-utilization of the health care system during the COVID-19 pandemic.

What you should know about the flu shot

Here are a few important reminders about the seasonal flu vaccine:

  • You cannot get the flu from a flu shot.
  • You should be vaccinated every year to account for changes in the flu virus.
  • You may still contract the flu after getting a flu shot, however the vaccine can make your symptoms milder and lower the risk of developing other health problems from the flu.

We urge patients to practice safe social distancing, hand hygiene and mask wearing to prevent the spread of COVID-19. In addition, a flu vaccine will reduce your risk of illness, decrease burden on the health-care system, and decrease the risk of catching both diseases at once.

Ask your Women’s Care provider about getting your flu vaccine.