‘As soon as you can get it, you should get it’: health experts urge everyone to get flu shot

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CRAVEN COUNTY, N.C. (WNCT) – Health officials across the East are urging people to get the flu shot this season.

They say it’s especially vital as the coronavirus pandemic continues.

This year, healthcare workers are fearing flu and COVID cases will peak at the same time.

“Influenza, when it comes about each year, tends to cause increased hospitalizations for people that are particularly susceptible to complications.”

Vice President of Medical Affairs at CarolinaEast Medical Center, Dr. Ronald May, says COVID adds even more strain on hospital resources.

“COVID has done that already to many hospitals in many areas and continues to do that,” he said. “If they coincide, it will become extremely difficult for hospitals and healthcare workers to deal with that volume. And it certainly appears like they may coincide.”

So what can you do to help?

You can get your flu shot and continue to follow COVID precautions, such as wearing a mask, washing your hands and social distancing.

Doctors say these precautions will protect against the flu, too.

“One of the things that I am hopeful for, but can’t guarantee, is that the measures that we have in place to protect ourselves from COVID will impede the transmissions of influenza,” said Dr. John Silvernail, Pitt County’s health director.

Health experts have another concern.

COVID and the flu share many of the same symptoms.

“Typically, flu has aches, pains, fever, cough, headache,” said Dr. May. “COVID has those same things. Discerning one from the other will be very difficult.”

Both May and Silvernail recommend everyone who doesn’t have a valid medical excuse should get a flu shot.

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