Experts and doctors warn that the next season of flu which could be severe, further renewing fears of a potential “twindemia” with Covid-19 still spreading. Because of this, health authorities are asking the population to take the vacina ASAP.

Here are eight questions you should know about the upcoming flu season and how to get your annual flu shot during the pandemic:


1. After a flu season last year, this one can be more difficult

Influenza reached low levels last year in the United States, even more so due to masking protocols and social distance. According to Dr. Jacqueline Korpics, director of the Cook County Department of Public Health, means that many people have not been exposed to the flu this past season and haven't had the opportunity to boost their immunity.

 At the same time, some restrictions on the pandemic have been relaxed or lifted, but Covid-19 is still circulating, said Dr. Jacqueline Korpics, COVID-19 medical director at the Cook County Department of Public Health.

“There is concern that this is an especially bad flu season due to the relaxation of mitigations, the fact that many of us were not exposed last year due to the mitigations and because the flu will be circulating concurrently with Covid,” she commented. .

The recent increase in local cases of another respiratory disease — respiratory syncytial virus or RSV — could be a sign of a bad flu season, explained Dr. Kelly Michelson, professor of pediatrics and director of the Center for Bioethics and Medical Humanities at Northwestern School of Medicine at the University Feinberg.

2. It's a good time to get the flu shot

In an ideal scenario, everyone would be vaccinated against the flu by the end of October, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. With that, Korpics said September is a great time to get vaccinated against the flu.

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3. Covid-19 and flu vaccines can be given at the same time

"You can get a Covid-19 vaccine and other vaccines in the same visit," the CDC stated on its website. In addition, the agency added that side effects after vaccination are generally the same when given alone or with other immunizations.

 “We want you to be protected and protect those around you who are especially vulnerable to influenza and COVID. Don't let yourself or those around you suffer from a preventable illness. Both vaccines are safe and, in general, there are few people with contraindications for either vaccine.” said Korpics.

4. It's important to get vaccines to protect yourself

Children under 12 still cannot get the Covid-19 vaccine, but most can be immunized against the flu, and health experts say it is important to protect them against any virus possible to minimize disease during the pandemic.

“Please get vaccinated against the flu and Covid-19, it is important for you, for the children and for everyone,” he emphasized. Michelson. She added that babies under 6 months cannot get flu shots, so it is important that adults and children do so to help keep babies healthy.

5. Vaccines are important this season to avoid overloading hospitals

In many parts of the country, hospitals are already overloaded with Covid-19 patients. “Anything we can do to keep people out of the hospital will be helpful. This is another important reason for people to get the flu shot,” he said. Michelson.

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6. Flu vaccination rates are generally not good

Fewer than half of American adults get the flu shot each year, according to the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases. The organization found that 59% of adults surveyed planned to receive the flu vaccine during the 2020-2021 flu season, an increase from 52% in the previous year.

Of those who were unsure or unplanned to get vaccinated, 34% did not believe the flu vaccine worked well, 32% said they never caught the flu, 29% were concerned about possible side effects, and 22% said they were concerned about catching the flu virus of immunization, if this is not possible. 

7. Impact of the vaccine

There was a highlight on vaccines - and also on people's hesitation - during the pandemicTherefore, experts are not sure how this may impact against the flu this season. “I just hope this will encourage more people to get flu shots,” Korpics said. 

She noted that patients who get flu or Covid-19 after vaccination generally have a much milder illness and are still protected from hospitalization, serious illness and death.

8. Difference between flu and Covid-19

  • Stuffy nose is common with the flu but is rare in Covid-19; 
  • Loss of taste or smell is often associated with coronavirus, but unlikely with the flu;
  • But body aches, fevers, headaches and fatigue are symptoms of both viruses. Therefore, health authorities advise testing for Covid-19 whenever it is symptomatic.

Source: Medical Xpress

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