11:08 AM

Keck Medicine interim CEO with a message about fires and the flu shot

Dear valued patients,

Tomorrow is the first day of fall, and with autumn, comes both fire and flu season.

Your health and safety continue to be our top priority, and I want to let you know that we are here to keep you healthy in September and beyond.

To those of you living in areas affected by fire, I am sending you my heartfelt best wishes as you deal with this most challenging time.

Fire and smoke concerns

The air quality has been unhealthy in the Los Angeles area primarily due to the Bobcat fire, which fire officials estimate may take until the end of October to contain. The state is also contending with multiple other fires – as well as the threat of future ones – that could continue to fill the skies with smoke and ash.

If you are experiencing any smoke-related health issues such as difficulty managing your asthma or allergy symptoms, please contact your Keck Medicine of USC health care provider to make an in-person or telemedicine appointment. Our offices are safe and continuing operations despite local fires, and we can help you find relief from your symptoms.

Protecting yourself from the flu

The Centers for Disease Control recommends that everyone above the age of six months receives the flu vaccine, which protects against the most commonly circulating influenza virus strains. It is especially important that people over age 65, under two or who are immunocompromised get vaccinated as they are most vulnerable to severe complications from the flu.

This year it is even more important for everyone to get vaccinated because the 2020-21 flu season coincides with the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, an occurrence you may have heard referenced as the “twindemic.”

A flu shot will help avoid the possibility of coming down with both illnesses at the same time or back to back. In addition, getting vaccinated helps protect others in the community from catching the flu, which is especially key for vulnerable populations.

Some may think they don’t need a flu shot if they wear a mask when out in public. This is not true. Masks, while offering some protection, primarily prevent people from spreading viruses, not catching them.

Please contact your primary care provider to schedule a flu shot at your earliest convenience. We are offering vaccines in our doctors’ offices and are also arranging for drive-through flu shot tents.

If you are over 65, please ask your care provider about receiving the vaccine to protect you from pneumonia as well.

Together, we have made it through six months of the COVID-19 pandemic. I now want to make sure you enjoy the fall in the best health possible.


Rod Hanners

Interim CEO

Keck Medicine of USC