When is the best time to get your flu shot this year during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Today's Ask the Doctor segment looks at whether wearing glasses can reduce the COVID-19 risk; when's the best time for a flu shot; and whether secondhand smoke can spread coronavirus.
LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Can wearing glasses help protect you from COVID-19?

When is the best time to get a flu shot this year?

Can coronavirus particles be carried through secondhand smoke?


These were some of the questions addressed by Dr. Anthony Cardillo in his latest Ask the Doctor session with Eyewitness News.

Cardillo is an ER specialist and CEO of Mend Urgent Care in the Los Angeles area.

  • Q: If you wear glasses, could you be at lower risk for COVID-19?

  • Cardillo says a recent study out of China found a lower rate of COVID-19 hospitalizations among people who wear glasses.

    The study noted that about one-third of China's population is nearsighted and wears glasses. So it would make sense that about one-third of the patients hospitalized with COVID-19 wore glasses. But instead it found that only about 6% of the hospitalized patients wore glasses.

    The reasons aren't entirely clear, but Cardillo says it's likely that the glasses simply act as another physical barrier to coronavirus particles in the air, as well as an obstacle preventing people from touching their eyes and face with their fingers.

  • Q: When's the best time to get your flu shot this year?

  • Now.

    Cardillo says it typically takes about a month for your body to develop full immunity to influenza after getting the vaccine. So getting that shot now would offer protection as flu season gets underway.

    Health professionals like Cardillo have also stressed the importance of flu shots this year in particular, so hospitals that are dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic are not further pushed past capacity by flu patients. Also, if a person gets sick, having the vaccine helps eliminate flu as the likely cause of their symptoms.

    "You want to be immune during the height of the new COVID season that's coming," Cardillo said. "So at least if you get sick you'll have evidence that it's most likely not going to be the flu because you had the vaccine."

  • Q: Can coronavirus particles be carried by secondhand smoke?

  • The research isn't clear on this yet, but it's a question that many doctors talk about, he said. No research has as of yet showed direct evidence that virus particles are carried a greater distance in smoke but they haven't disproved it either. So Cardillo says it's best to err on the side of caution and take additional precautions when in the vicinity of secondhand tobacco smoke.

    "Certainly in close proximity we're going to have to postulate for now at least, that if someone is COVID positive they have a greater likelihood of transmitting that disease if they're smoking and exhaling that smoke."
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