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Flu shot season is here and why doctors say this year its important to get the shot

Both the flu and the coronavirus have very similar symptoms

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Fall is on its way and along with cooler weather and changing leaves comes the flu.

Dr. Charles Carter, a family physician at Prisma Health says everyone six months and older needs their flu shot, especially this year.

RELATED: CDC director warns of 'worst fall' in history if COVID-19 measures aren't followed

“First of all, influenza and COVID19 can have very very similar appearances so it would be difficult to tell them apart just based on symptoms," Dr. Carter says, "Also, we have reason to believe that people can have both illnesses at the same time- so we don’t yet have a vaccination for COVID19 but we do have a tool in the flu shot to help reduce the severity of the flu and reduce the number of people that might become ill from it and so that’s why we think its particularly important this year.”

In South Carolina, the flu starts showing up around November and since the shot takes about two weeks to show effectiveness, doctors recommend getting the shot in September or October, “We want to get people immunized at the time before there’s widespread community transmission," says Dr. Carter.

It’s also important to note that the flu vaccine is not the same as a COVID19 vaccine.

 “It’s a serious illness- we can prevent it, we can prevent you from getting as sick as you would get, this helps prevent hospitalization, this helps keep you, your family members, and your community healthier," Dr. Carter adds.

You can visit Prisma Health's Flu site for all of the questions you may have.

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