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Americans encouraged to get flu shot as US prepares to battle both flu and COVID-19

Americans encouraged to get flu shot as US prepares to battle both flu and COVID-19
Posted at 3:20 PM, Sep 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-15 18:31:46-04

What happens when the pandemic and flu season collide? The situation has doctors concerned.

“You could possibly have both and we don’t know how bad it will be if you have both,” said Dr. Richard Pan, a pediatrician and California state senator. “Many physicians and scientists are concerned because both of the viruses attack your lungs and heart.”

California already had its first flu death this season and Pan is pleading with the public to get the flu shot this year.

It's unknown how someone who had COVID-19 will react with the flu.

“Even if they were asymptomatic, will the flu be a lot worse for somebody who already had COVID? Because of the damage COVID already did to the lungs and heart that perhaps the patient is not fully recovered from,” said Pan.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has ordered extra flu vaccines. They're widely available now and it's recommended you get one before the end of October.

Normally, vaccine rates for the flu are around 40%. Pan says it should be double that.

“If you have someone who is not vaccinated, then they're going to be much more likely to transmit that flu virus to the person that had COVID,” said Pan.

Pan also says it's going to be difficult to figure out if you have the flu or COVID-19 or both, without testing.

Make sure you isolate if you have any symptoms. You can spread both the flu and COVID-19 before you develop symptoms.

It takes two weeks after the flu vaccine to develop antibodies.

Some hope the U.S. flu season will be milder because of mask wearing, hand washing, and social distancing. Other counties have seen that.