It’s possible to get sick with the flu and COVID-19 at the same time, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Get the flu shot, that’s the message from the CDC.
It’s the same thing Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Olayemi Osiyemi is urging his patients to do.
“I think we need to be mindful that we are going into the flu season and some of the symptoms are similar to Coronavirus,” he said. “So I will stress that people get the flu vaccine and take social distancing seriously because if you get Influenza infection plus Coronavirus infection it could be really bad.”
While getting two infections at the same time is rare, it’s still possible.
That’s alarming for many reasons, as the flu season gets ready to collide with the unprecedented global pandemic which has claimed the lives of 177,000 Americans and overwhelmed hospitals with thousands of sick patients. An Influenza outbreak amid the pandemic is a nightmare scenario for those on the frontlines, who feel it could cripple the healthcare system.
Both viruses are contagious respiratory illnesses that affect all age groups, but people with underlying health conditions are more at risk for complications or worse, according to Osiyemi.
The CDC believes the more people vaccinated against the flu could help reduce the burden on hospitals and save resources for the fight against COVID-19.
Medical experts recognize the flu shot is not perfect, but say any protection is better than no protection against the virus.
“You may not be 100 percent protected, but if you have something for your protection and you get sick, your degree of illness may not be as bad,” said Osiyemi.
It’s important to keep in mind it takes anywhere between 8 to 10 days, after getting the flu shot, to develop immunity. So physicians urge people to get the vaccine as soon as possible.