When news broke last week that an actual asteroid is due to swing through space near Earth the day before the presidential election, cynics and wits breathed a sigh of relief. At last, something to interrupt the unending mess of pandemic, economic collapse, and individual stress! Alas, the asteroid is too small and far away to cause an extinction event, which means we all have to keep soldiering on.
In a world that won't end in early November, that means doing everything we can keep each other safe. That still means wearing masks and social distancing, but according to public health experts, it also means keeping an eye on the normal dangers we face during cold and flu season. Despite how much we're all focusing on COVID-19, health care professionals all over are urging us to still seek out flu shots.
"I urge everyone to get the flu vaccine in September," writes Purdue University's Libby Richards for The Conversation. "Please do not wait for flu cases to start to peak. The flu vaccine takes up to two weeks to reach peak effectiveness, so getting the vaccine in September will help provide the best protection as the flu increases in October and later in the season."
We don't yet know what having COVID and the flu at the same time will do, or how our hospital systems will cope with it. Prevention, in this case, is worth everything. Flu shots are usually available now or should be starting in September, whether through your physician or at pharmacies. The vaccine is safe for the vast majority of people, including those with egg allergies. It may be 2020, which means expecting the unexpected, but we can predict this problem right now.