CLEVELAND, Ohio – Cold and flu season is an annual nuisance, especially for those still recovering from the pandemic. Which is why it is important to take steps to limit the spread of the illnesses during this time of year.

According to Susan Rehm, MD, an infectious disease specialist for Cleveland Clinic, vaccines are the way to go.

“We have wonderful vaccines available for influenza and for COVID. We can reduce the chance that people are going to get really ill and maybe, in some cases, eliminate the possibility,” said Dr. Rehm. “The vaccines aren’t perfect, but they’re much better than not getting vaccinated.”

Dr. Rehm said we’ll likely see more cold and flu this year, in addition to COVID, due to people masking less and exposing themselves more to respiratory illnesses. She added that not all illnesses are preventable with vaccination. Many of the familiar lessons learned from the pandemic can also work to protect you from infection.

“Some of the things that we can do to reduce the exposure to any respiratory virus this year are things that have become very familiar to us; distancing, staying out of crowds, wearing a mask, hand washing are all things that will reduce exposure,” Dr. Rehm said.

Flu and COVID vaccinations are recommended for those age six months and older. It is also safe to get them both at the same time.