The Upcoming Flu Season and COVID-19
Fall and winter are right around the corner, which always brings about flu season. The flu is a serious virus, causing anywhere between 12,000-49,000 deaths per year. A new flu vaccine is made every year to better protect against this virus as it mutates. But this year, as we are still battling the COVID-19 pandemic, reducing the spread of respiratory diseases, such as the flu, is more important than ever. Healthcare manufacturers have already begun to distribute the yearly flu vaccine, and will continue to do so throughout the season. The CDC has put together a comprehensive page on what you need to know going into the flu season in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Flu Vaccine General Facts
Doctors and healthcare manufacturers create and distribute a new flu vaccine every year as the virus constantly changes and mutates. It is important that you are vaccinated for the flu annually, but it is of increased importance this year as the COVID-19 virus continues to spread. The CDC recommends that anyone over the age of 6 months receive a flu vaccine between September-October prior to the full force of flu season. It also is possible for an individual to have the flu and COVID-19 at the same time, although there has not been extensive research into the effects of it. While the flu virus will not decrease your risk of contracting COVID-19, it will protect you against the flu, which is important as we try to prevent a flu outbreak.
The Flu and COVID-19: Similarities
The Flu and COVID-19 are both types of respiratory viruses. While they are not the same virus, they do have similar symptoms. A fever, cough, fatigue, sore throat, and muscle/body aches are common symptoms of both the cold and of COVID-19. These two viruses are also transmitted in similar ways. Both the flu and COVID-19 are spread through person to person contact. Small droplets can travel from talking, coughing, or sneezing while close to others. With all the symptoms and characteristics that the flu and COVID-19 have in common, it will be difficult to distinguish between the two viruses unless you receive a viral test.
There are many testing locations across the country where you can receive a COVID-19 test if you begin to experience symptoms. Lifeline Health, for example, offers drive through viral testing in the Silverlakes Sports Complex in Norco, California. Our tests offer a specificity of 100% and a sensitivity of 96.7%. Lifeline Health’s COVID Testing Site in Norco is open from Monday-Sunday 7:30am-9:45pm, making it easy to book an appointment that works with your schedule through our website.
For the flu vaccine, many pharmacies (such as CVS) carry the vaccine and allow walk-in appointments. Call your local pharmacy soon to find out information on if they carry flu vaccines, so that you will be more protected for this upcoming flu season. Stay safe, wear a mask, and wash your hands!