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Infectious disease experts foresee an increase in dual infection of COVID-19 and the flu

Published: Sep. 22, 2021 at 6:09 PM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - With flu season on the way, doctors are urging people to get vaccinated for both the flu and COVID-19, because it is possible to get both at the same time.

The CDC says because some of the symptoms of flu, COVID-19, and other respiratory illnesses are alike, the difference between them cannot be determined based on symptoms alone.

Cough, fever and body aches are all symptoms of the flu and COVID-19, but health experts say if you have breathing problems, shortness of breath or coughing it is more likely you have COVID-19.

“If you have joint pains, if you have these body aches, that come on fairly suddenly, that might make you think, that it’s likely more influenza,” said Sanford Health Infectious Disease Consultant Dr. Noe Mateo.

Dr. Mateo says he foresees an increase in dual infections this winter due to the relaxed mask-wearing.

“What you don’t want is to be sick enough to be hospitalized or to die, and those are the main benefits of both types of vaccine,” said Dr. Mateo.

Infectious disease experts say if you come down with symptoms of either virus, then stay home.

“But for the folks who don’t get vaccinated, can’t get vaccinated, won’t be vaccinated, then the thing to do is to have yourself tested,” said Dr. Mateo.

Dr. Mateo says while he was under the impression that people had to space out their COVID-19 and flu vaccines, he says current guidelines indicate you can get both at the same time.

The CDC says this year’s vaccine was developed to protect against the four flu viruses’ scientists expect to circulate this year.

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