How Should I Prepare for Flu Season During COVID-19?

With Labor Day looming on the horizon, it is important to start preparing for the upcoming flu season. Flu season starts in late September and lasts through spring, with cases spiking between January and March. The influenza virus is highly contagious and can quickly spread through communities including office buildings, dorms, classrooms and apartment buildings as well as through your own family. With the additional concern of COVID-19 this flu season, getting yourself and your family prepared has taken an extra importance this fall. AFC Urgent Care Louisville is available to provide answers regarding proper flu prevention as well as COVID-19 precautions and testing.

What is the difference between COVID-19 and the flu?

While both are viruses that primarily affect the upper respiratory system, the flu and COVID-19 are extremely different. The flu is caused by a specific influenza virus that constantly mutates and evolves, which is why a new vaccination is necessary each year. Symptoms of the flu include fatigue, fever, chills and congestion. COVID-19 is caused by transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, a newly detected virus first discovered in late 2019 with a wide range of similar but more severe symptoms to the flu. While both viruses can be fatal, COVID-19 has been a worldwide pandemic since early 2020 with over 170,000 casualties in the United States. Diagnostic tests are available for both viruses, with a rapid test available for the influenza virus and results available in 1-3 days for COVID-19 diagnostic testing.

Can I have the flu and COVID-19 at the same time?

A patient will be able to contract the flu and influenza at the same time, but doctors are unsure of how common this will be. Research is still being conducted to determine what side effects, if any, will be possible from having both viruses simultaneously. In order to determine which virus you have, your physician will ask you a series of questions about your symptoms, including when they began and what you have been exhibiting, as well as your activities for the previous several days. This will allow our staff to determine which virus you should be tested for. 

Can I get a flu shot as protection against COVID-19?

A flu shot will not be able to provide protection or immunity against COVID-19. However, it will provide you with what is expected to be the common strain of influenza for up to six months during the duration of flu season, making it easier for doctors to provide a more accurate diagnosis if you present with symptoms of an upper respiratory infection. 

When should I get a flu shot?

In order to have the most protection against the influenza virus, you should get a flu shot as soon as possible after vaccinations are available, typically around late September to early October. The vaccination takes about two weeks to make your body immune by developing antibodies against the current strain, and getting the shot early allows you to have immunity before the virus starts spreading through your community.

Flu Shots for Walk-In Patients in Louisville, Boulder & Superior, CO

The flu shot is recommended for patients of all ages over the age of six months. If you are interested in getting a flu shot to protect yourself and your family, visit AFC Urgent Care Louisville to get your annual immunization. Our walk-in urgent care center is open seven days a week and offers extended hours to best accommodate our patients. For questions, please call 720-961-9700.

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