Summer! The best time of year—play time, vacation and easier schedules for most of us. But in among all that recreation, keep an eye out for safety, so you can keep the fun coming. First and foremost, experts agree, get…
Stay Healthy and Keep the Campus Safe—Get a Flu Shot
Getting your flu shot this year is more imperative this year than ever—for yourself and your family, and your community.
All faculty and staff are requested to get an influenza (flu) vaccine as another measure to keep the campus safe and healthy as outlined in the Syracuse University SAFE public health framework [PDF] released over the summer.
Faculty and staff can get a flu shot through their primary care doctor, at a local pharmacy or by making an appointment for the University’s flu clinic. Visit the Flu Information webpage on the Wellness Initiative website for more information.
Dr. Karen Nardella, medical director at the Barnes Center at The Arch, explains why it’s important to get the flu shot, especially this year; the differences—and similarities—between the flu and COVID-19; and prevention measures.
Why is it important to get the flu shot, especially during this pandemic?
The influenza vaccine (flu shot) is proven to decrease the frequency and severity of influenza, which in turn will decrease the overall burden of respiratory illness on the population and the risk of hospitalization from flu. In turn, this will lighten the burden on the health care system, which must remain at full strength as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.
How can you tell the difference between if you have the flu or COVID-19?
Symptoms of the flu and COVID-19 are very similar. These include cough, fever, chills, sore throat, runny nose or congestion, muscle or body aches, headaches and fatigue. Diarrhea, nausea and vomiting can be seen with both. Loss of taste and smell and shortness of breath are more unique to COVID-19. The onset of symptoms with flu is typically very sudden, while with COVID-19 there is a more subtle onset.
Are the prevention measures for COVID helpful for not getting the flu as well (wearing a mask, washing your hands frequently, etc.)?
The prevention measures that work with COVID-19 also prevent the flu. These include washing your hands frequently, not touching your face and wearing a mask. Also, staying home when you are sick is one of the best ways to limit the spread of both influenza and COVID-19. With influenza there is a vaccination that can prevent and limit severity of disease, while the development of a COVID-19 vaccination is still in progress.
What usually stops people from getting the flu shot?
Some people believe that the influenza vaccine can give you the flu, which is false. Others fear reactions to the flu shot; however, serious reactions are very rare.
How can you treat the flu at home?
The best way to treat the flu is to stay home. Fluids, fever reducers, such as acetaminophen, and rest work best. Those at risk of getting serious complications from the flu should take antiviral medication.