As we enter flu season coinciding with Covid-19 cases continuing to surge, many health officials are concerned of a possible “Twindemic.” And this is why it’s so important to double down on precautionary measures to prevent the spread of both viruses and clarify any confusion or myths about the two.
Below are some common facts and fictions you should know about Covid-19 and the flu.
More people have died of Covid-19 than the flu? FACT
- The flu is very contagious, just like COVID-19, and can lead to illness and even death if not taken seriously, which is why there is so much concern. However, over 210,000 Americans have died of Covid-19 in the past 8 months which is more than the past five flu seasons altogether making Covid-19 more deadly.
The flu vaccine will give you the flu? FICTION
- This is not true. Flu immunizations are made with inactivated (killed) influenza virus so it is not enough to give you the flu. It is just enough to tickle your immune system to prompt your body to begin making antibodies. Just don’t wait until you’re exposed to someone who has the flu because you may have already have contracted it by the time you get the immunization.
I’m allergic to eggs so I cannot get the flu shot. FICTION
- This not true. In fact the CDC and its Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommend people with a history of egg allergy of any severity should receive any licensed, recommended, and age-appropriate influenza vaccine. If you have an allergy, follow up with your health provider for details.
Getting the flu shot will protect against coronavirus. FICTION
- While I wish this were true, it is not. These are different viruses. The flu virus is from the influenza virus. SARS-coV2 coronavirus causes Covid-19. The flu vaccine protects you from flu-strain viruses only, not coronavirus.
Flu symptoms and Covid-19 symptoms are similar. FACT
- Influenza is a virus that can cause many of the same symptoms as COVID-19 such as: fever, cough, difficulty breathing, stuffy nose and sore throat.
It doesn’t matter when I get the flu vaccine? FICTION
- When you get the flu vaccine matters. It’s protection is not permanent. Because you want it to last through the flu season, it’s best to get it late Sept or early Oct. If you get it too early, your immunity may no longer be as robust by the time Nov-Feb comes which is when flu cases spike. If you get it too late into the season, you may be exposed to the flu virus prior to the flu shot being able to work.
- You can still get the flu vaccine if you have a mild illness, such as a cold or sinus infection. People who have a fever or a moderate or severe illness may need to delay vaccination until they’ve recovered.
Certain groups are at higher risk of having complications from the flu? FACT
- According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people who are at high risk for developing flu-related complications include:
- Children younger than five, but especially children younger than two years old
- Adults 65 years of age and older
- Pregnant women (and women up to two weeks postpartum)
- Those with chronic medical conditions and those who are immunosuppressed
- Many people skip their flu shot thinking it doesn’t matter, but an estimated 80% of children who died from the flu did not get their flu vaccine.
- In adults, getting an annual flu shot has been shown to decrease your chances of falling seriously sick with the flu by 40% to 60%.
In addition to getting the flu shot, there are other things I can do to stay healthy this fall/winter? FACT
- There are many things people can do to protect themselves and reduce risk of infection and germ spreading.
- Being equipped with an extra shield of protection, like face masks, personal sanitizing products and social distancing go a long way.
- Beyond hand sanitizing, many don’t know to sanitize the nose but it’s actually so important because it’s a hot spot for germs.
- Think about it – the warm, moist, hairy skin inside nostrils is the perfect environment for potentially dangerous germs to grow and multiply. And since you touch your nose
- 100 times a day on average, that’s how germs spread. There are products designed to sanitize the nose, like Nozin® Nasal Sanitizer® antiseptic – it’s an OTC that hospital professionals have used for years to kill 99.99% of germs in the nose.
- Adding vitamin C, zinc, garlic and vitamin E supplements to your diet can also help build immunity against germs.
- Doing this, complemented by washing your hands, avoiding large crowds, and engaging in sneeze and cough hygiene (doing so in your elbow), and getting a flu shot will all work together to help protect yourself and others.