Medical City Healthcare - August 26, 2020

Take Care magazine and video page

October is the unofficial start of flu season in North Texas, creating an overlap of COVID-19 and influenza this winter. You may have many questions about what this means to you and your family. We’ve checked with expert sources, including a CareNow® Urgent Care physician and the CDC, to find answers. Here’s what you need to know about COVID and flu.

It’s possible to get COVID-19 and flu at the same time

“Flu season starts in October, usually goes throughout February and sometimes extends into April,” says Shawn Riley, MD. “Having both illnesses together would likely mean you would have much more severe symptoms. And, if your immune system is trying to fight off two illnesses simultaneously, that could put you at higher risk for a poor outcome or a severe illness.”

Some people at higher risk for complications of flu—including adults 65 and older, anyone with chronic health conditions and pregnant women—are also at higher risk for many of the same complications of COVID-19, including:

On the bright side, there’s something you can do to protect against this potential one-two punch.

“One of the good things is that the flu has a vaccine,” Dr. Riley says. “The best way to help avoid getting the flu is to get the seasonal vaccine every single year. It’s really important to get ahead of this before flu season starts”

Get flu shots for the whole family at CareNow

Dr. Riley notes that there is currently no evidence that the flu vaccine offers any defense against COVID-19 and reminds people that the effectiveness of flu shots only lasts one season.

The 3Ws offer protection against COVID and flu

Those good hygiene measures you’ve been taking to avoid COVID-19 can also help protect you from the flu, so be sure to:

  • Wear a mask in public places
  • Wash your hands often
  • Watch your distance and stay at least six feet away from others

Also, stay home when you’re sick and call your healthcare provider or urgent care clinic if you have any symptoms that you’re not able to manage.

Symptoms alone may not indicate whether someone has COVID-19 or flu … or both

COVID-19 and flu are both contagious, viral respiratory illnesses with varying degrees of symptoms and severity. According to the CDC, they share many characteristics. Because of this, it may be hard to get a diagnosis based on symptoms alone.

It’s also possible to be asymptomatic with both COVID-19 and the flu, meaning you could have no symptoms at all (but may still be contagious). If you think someone in your family needs to be tested, CareNow offers flu testing as well as COVID-19 diagnostic and antibody testing.

Common symptoms for COVID-19 and flu

Someone with COVID-19 and/or flu may have one or more of these symptoms:

  • Fever or feeling feverish/chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue (tiredness)
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle pain or body aches
  • Headache
  • Vomiting and diarrhea (more common in children than adults)

Different symptoms for COVID-19 and flu

Someone with COVID-19 may have these symptoms that are not typically seen with flu:

  • Change in or loss of taste or sense of smell

Emergency warning signs for COVID-19 and flu

Regardless of whether someone has been diagnosed with COVID-19 or flu, if they are showing any of these signs, you should seek emergency medical care immediately:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Persistent chest or stomach pain or pressure
  • New confusion or dizziness
  • Inability to wake or stay awake
  • Bluish lips or face
  • Dehydration
  • High fever

Find more helpful tips about COVID-19 and flu in these blogs:

At Medical City Healthcare, we’re dedicated to the care and improvement of human life. So, we hope you’ll Take Care !

For more information, call our Ask a Nurse hotline 24/7 or use Find a Doctor online.

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