Is a ‘Twin-demic’ on the way? You can catch the flu and COVID-19 at the same time


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Flu season is on the way, and a big question is how will this season pan out alongside the COVID-19 pandemic, and can you contract COVID and the flu at the same time?

It’s a double whammy that you don’t want, flu and COVID at the same time. According to Dr. William Schaffner, Professor of Infectious Diseases at Vanderbilt, it’s a possibility.

“Can you get them both at the same time? That’s already happened. There are case reports about that in the medical literature. It’s not quite clear yet whether they make you even sicker, but that’s something we’re afraid of.”

One of the main concerns as we head into fall and winter, according to Dr. Schaffner, is the strain that the combination of flu season and the pandemic could put on our healthcare system.

“But for sure, it looks like we’re going to have a twin-demic this fall and winter. COVID and flu and perhaps sometimes, even together.”

One issue is that COVID-19 and flu are respiratory viruses that have many of the same symptoms, something that can make diagnosis tricky.

Those who are feeling ill should contact their doctor immediately. Dr. Schaffner anticipates doctors ordering both flu and COVID tests once the flu season begins.

Unlike with COVID, there is both a vaccine and antiviral treatments readily available for the flu. Flu vaccinations, in particular, will be necessary this year, and the best time to get your vaccination is over the next few weeks.

“The best time is October. October is the golden month to get vaccinated. If you can get it today, fine. October is the best, [or in] first two weeks of November.”

Mask wearing is also vital since it works to prevent the spread of both COVID and the flu.

Stay with News 2 for continuing coverage of the COVID-19 Pandemic.


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