Bellin Flu Facts

Your Best Defense Against the Flu: Vaccination

Flu vaccinations are more important than ever! Somewhere between five and 20 percent of the country’s population gets the flu every year, which amounts to millions of cases. For most, the flu is a few days of feeling as if you’ve been hit by a truck. For some, flu leads to dangerous complications. With COVID-19 circulating, it’s critical to get a flu vaccine to protect yourself from potentially coming down with both viruses.

The single best way to protect yourself and others against influenza is to get a flu vaccination each year. The "flu shot" — an inactivated vaccine (containing killed virus) that is given with a needle, usually in the arm. The flu shot is approved for use in people older than 6 months, including healthy people and people with chronic medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, or heart disease).

When should I get the flu shot?

Yearly flu vaccination should begin in September or as soon as vaccine is available and continue throughout the influenza season, into December, January, and beyond. This is because the timing and duration of influenza seasons vary. While influenza outbreaks can happen as early as October, most of the time influenza activity peaks in January or later.

Will I be charged for the flu vaccine?
With or without insurance, flu vaccinations will be at no charge this year. 


Flu and COVID-19

Influenza (Flu) and COVID-19 are both contagious respiratory illnesses, but they are caused by different viruses. COVID-19 is caused by infection with a coronavirus (called SARS-CoV-2), and flu is caused by infection with influenza viruses. Because some of the symptoms of flu and COVID-19 are similar, it may be hard to tell the difference between them based on symptoms alone, and testing may be needed to help confirm a diagnosis. Flu and COVID-19 share many characteristics, but there are some key differences between the two.

While more is learned every day, there is still a lot that is unknown about COVID-19 and the virus that causes it. The below​ compares COVID-19 and flu, given the best available information to date.

Will there be flu along with COVID-19 in the fall and winter?

While it’s not possible to say with certainty what will happen in the fall and winter, CDC believes it’s likely that flu viruses and the virus that causes COVID-19 will both be spreading. In this context, getting a flu vaccine will be more important than ever. CDC recommends that all people 6 months and older get a yearly flu vaccine.

Can I have flu and COVID-19 at the same time?

Yes. It is possible to have flu, as well as other respiratory illnesses, and COVID-19 at the same time. Health experts are still studying how common this can be.

Some of the symptoms of flu and COVID-19 are similar, making it hard to tell the difference between them based on symptoms alone. Diagnostic testing can help determine if you are sick with flu or COVID-19.

Is COVID-19 more dangerous than flu?

Flu and COVID-19 can both result in serious illness, including illness resulting in hospitalization or death. While there is still much to learn about COVID-19, at this time, it does seem as if COVID-19 is more deadly than seasonal influenza; however, it is too early to draw any conclusions from the current data. This may change as we learn more about the number of people who are infected who have mild illnesses.

Will a flu vaccine protect me against COVID-19?

Getting a flu vaccine will not protect against COVID-19; however, flu vaccination has many other important benefits. Flu vaccines have been shown to reduce the risk of flu illness, hospitalization, and death. Getting a flu vaccine this fall will be more important than ever, not only to reduce your risk from flu, but also to help conserve potentially scarce health care resources.


Getting a Flu Vaccine during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Why is getting the flu vaccine so important this year?

A major flu outbreak could overwhelm hospitals this fall and winter, but also likely overwhelm a person who might contract both at once. Doctors have no way of knowing yet what the effect of a dual diagnosis might be on a person’s body, but they do know the dangers each illness (flu or COVID-19) alone can present. Public health officials in the U.S. are therefore urging people to get the flu vaccine this year.

If coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is spreading in my community, should I still go out to get a flu vaccine?

Yes. Getting a flu vaccine is an essential part of protecting your health and your family’s health this season. To protect your health when getting a flu vaccine, follow CDC’s recommendations for running essential errands and doctor visits. Continue to take everyday preventive actions.

Do You Know the Symptoms of Influenza?

Influenza (commonly called the "flu") is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses.


Be aware of common flu symptoms

Influenza usually starts suddenly and may include the following symptoms:

  • Fever (usually high)
  • Headache
  • Tiredness (can be extreme)
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Body aches
  • Diarrhea and vomiting (more common among children than adults)

Having these symptoms does not always mean that you have the flu. Many different illnesses, including the common cold, can have similar symptoms.

Think you might have the flu?

It is very difficult to distinguish the flu from other infections on the basis of symptoms alone, so getting an assessment from a healthcare provider is a good idea, especially if you are at high risk for complications of the flu. For your convenience, we offer easy-to-schedule video visits to both current Bellin patients and anyone else. Stay in the comfort of your home and receive great care. Visit bellin.org/videovisits.

Those at high risk for complications include people 65 years or older, people with chronic medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, or heart disease), pregnant women, and young children.

Know the risks from the flu

In some people, the flu can cause serious complications, including bacterial pneumonia, dehydration, and worsening of chronic medical conditions, such as congestive heart failure, asthma or diabetes. Children and adults may develop sinus problems and ear infections.

People may have different reactions to the flu

The flu can cause mild to severe illness and at times can lead to death. Although most healthy people recover from the flu without complications, some people, such as older people, young children, and people with certain health conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, or heart disease), are at high risk for serious complications from the flu.

Know how the flu spreads

The flu usually spreads from person to person in respiratory droplets when people who are infected cough or sneeze. People occasionally may become infected by touching something with influenza virus on it and then touching their mouth, nose or eyes.

Healthy adults may be able to infect others one day before getting symptoms and up to five days after getting sick. Therefore, it is possible to give someone the flu before you know you are sick as well as while you are sick.

–Some content provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention