This fall, people across the nation will now be doing their best to protect themselves against viruses like COVID-19 and influenza — more commonly known as the flu.
Action News Jax’s Courtney Cole spoke to a medical expert about how this could negatively effect the health care system and how contracting both viruses could affect your body.
On Monday, Cole took her questions to Dr. Sunil Joshi, the President of the Duval County Medical Society Foundation.
Her first question for him was, “Can you have COVID-19 and the flu at the same time?”
“You actually can. It will be very, very unlikely to happen,” said Dr. Joshi.
Dr. Joshi told Action News Jax that if it did happen, it would be potentially devastating, especially if you already have an existing medical condition.
“If somebody already has lung disease, emphysema, or asthma for instance, he [or she] could probably have a much more significant effect in terms of affecting your quality of life, and maybe even requiring hospitalization.”
Dr. Joshi said this year, it’s especially important to make sure you get to your primary care doctor or your nearest pharmacy to get your flu shot, because not only are we facing COVID-19, but flu season is also starting soon.
“We know that if we get the flu vaccine out at higher numbers, we’ll have less hospitalizations from the flu itself, which would make it easier to manage COVID patients,” Dr. Joshi told Action News Jax.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates from 140,000 to 810,000 Americans are hospitalized with the flu each year.
“In most years we recommend the flu vaccine be given in late September, into October and you should usually get it by the end of October. Right now we’re just suggesting just go and get it,” Dr. Joshi.
If a COVID-19 vaccine were to become available, Dr. Joshi said you should not get the flu and COVID-19 vaccines at the same time. He said wait at least a week to 10 days between each vaccine.
“Let your body develop the antibodies to the flu itself by getting the flu vaccine before you go and get the COVID-19 vaccine,” Dr. Joshi said.
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