It’s not too late to get a flu shot before the holidays | Norton Healthcare Louisville, Ky.

It’s not too late to get a flu shot before the holidays

This is not the year to take chances on getting the flu — a vaccination can prevent flu or lessen its severity.

Between kids taking classes from home, and work and other routines upended, it’s easy — but unwise — to put off getting a flu shot this year. The holidays are approaching and will create more opportunity to spread germs, no matter how careful you are.

The flu shot isn’t 100% effective, but it’s your best chance to avoid getting sick. Flu viruses can mutate over time and drift from the precise strains the vaccine was designed to ward off.

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Find out where and how to get vaccinated.

Get a flu shot

“The flu vaccine can not only prevent the flu, but prevent you from getting a severe case,” said Martin C. Ozor, M.D., family medicine physician at Norton Louisville Primary Care Center on West Hill Street. “And while your body will start producing antibodies about two weeks after the shot, it takes six weeks to build up the maximum protection.”

Many health care providers are requiring appointments before getting a flu shot to space out the number of people in the office. Flu shots are available at doctors’ offices, pharmacies or drive-thru events.

By getting a flu shot, wearing a mask, maintaining 6 feet of separation when in public and frequently washing your hands, you significantly increase your chances of avoiding the flu. And with COVID-19 spreading, keeping yourself healthy frees up more health care resources to help those affected by the pandemic.

The symptoms of flu and COVID-19 are often indistinguishable and often will require a test to determine a diagnosis.

Signs and Symptoms COVID-19 Cold Influenza Allergies
Symptom onset Abrupt Gradual Abrupt Abrupt
Fever Common Rare Usually; lasts 3 to 4 days No
Aches Sometimes Slight Usually; often severe No
Chills Common Uncommon Fairly common No
Fatigue, weakness Sometimes Sometimes Usually Sometimes
Sneezing Rare Common Sometimes Common
Stuffy nose Rare Common Sometimes Common
Sore throat Sometimes Common Common No
Chest discomfort, cough Common Mild to moderate; hacking cough Common; can be severe Sometimes
Headache Sometimes Rare Common Sometimes
Extreme exhaustion Sometimes Never Common No
Shortness of breath When serious Rare Rare Sometimes
Runny nose Rare Common Sometimes Common
Diarrhea Sometimes No Sometimes No
New loss of taste or smell Common No No No

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