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Doctors encourage getting the flu shot as it may help minimize future hospital burden

Published: Sep. 1, 2021 at 6:52 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Flu season is upon us and doctors are asking everyone to do one thing, get the flu shot.

According to the CDC flu activity often begins to increase in October; Methodist Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Shirin Mazumder says it’s critical for the healthcare system that people get vaccinated against the flu.

“We really want people to get their flu shots this year to keep them safe but also to minimize the burden on the healthcare systems, so many hospitals and clinics right now are overwhelmed taking care or COVID-19 patients,” Mazumder said.

Last week 20 Tennessee National Guardsmen arrived in Memphis to assist Baptist Memorial Healthcare. Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare has also requested help.

Both COVID-19 and the flu are respiratory viruses, but Mazumder says the viruses are very different.

She says this flu season will be determined by people’s decision to get vaccinated or not.

“We may see more of a typical flu season this year because children are back in school and people are back at work, but the severity of this flu season is really going to depend on what people decide to do,” Mazumder said.

With COVID-19 and the flu having common symptoms Mazumder encourages people to get tested for COVID-19 to help determine which virus it may be.

Unlike COVID-19, the majority of the population is eligible to get the flu shot.

“Anybody older than six months is eligible to get vaccinated against the flu and it takes about two weeks after the flu shot is given for people to be protected and the flu shot can be given with other vaccines safely,” said Mazumder.

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