Flu shot may help prevent severe COVID-19

In a recent study published in PLoS One, researchers found that the flu vaccine may provide vital protection against COVID-19.

The findings strongly suggested that the annual flu shot reduces the risks of stroke, sepsis, and DVT in patients with COVID-19.

Patients with COVID-19 who had been vaccinated against the flu were also much less likely to visit the emergency department and be admitted to the intensive care unit.

The study is from the University of Miami. One author is Devinder Singh, M.D.

In the study, the team used patient records from a number of countries, including the U.S., the U.K., Germany, Italy, Israel and Singapore.

They identified two groups of 37,377 patients. Members of the first group had received the flu vaccine two weeks and six months prior to being diagnosed with COVID-19.

Those in the second group also had a positive COVID-19 diagnosis but were not vaccinated against the flu.

The researchers found that those who had not had the flu shot were much more likely (up to 20% more likely) to have been admitted to the ICU.

They were also significantly more likely to visit the emergency department (up to 58% more likely), to develop sepsis (up to 45% more likely), to have a stroke (up to 58% more likely) and a DVT (up to 40% more likely).

The team was also able to calculate how many COVID-19-positive patients would need to receive an influenza vaccine to avoid one adverse outcome.

Notably, they found that only 176 patients needed to have received a flu vaccine to prevent one ED visit within 120 days of testing positive for COVID-19.

Additionally, only 286 patients needed to have received their flu vaccine to prevent one case of sepsis, which is known to be the most expensive condition to treat in the U.S. health care system.

Last, for every 440 patients who were up to date on their flu shot, one ICU admission was prevented.

Although it isn’t exactly known yet how the flu vaccine provides protection against COVID-19, most theories speculate that the flu shot may boost the innate immune system — general defenses we are born with that do not protect against anyone specific illness.

The results strongly suggest that the flu vaccine may protect against several severe effects of COVID-19.

The team strongly recommends that people receive COVID-19 vaccines as well as their annual influenza vaccine. The flu shot could be used to help provide increased protection in countries where the COVID-19 vaccine is in short supply.

If you care about severe COVID, please read studies about the cause of blood clots in people with severe COVID-19 and findings of why do some people get severe COVID-19? The nose may know.

For more information about COVID and your health, please see recent studies about common cholesterol-lowering drugs may reduce death risk in severe COVID-19 and results showing that some antibodies may cause severe COVID-19.

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