The COVID-19 pandemic has made flu season all the more challenging this year. While health experts are concerned about spikes in both COVID-19 and flu cases, the risk of co-infection—having both contagious respiratory illnesses simultaneously —is even more concerning. And yes, it is possible. Because the novel coronavirus and influenza are caused by different viruses, you can be infected by both at the same time.
COVID-19 & Flu Have a Lot in Common
Both the novel coronavirus and influenza are primarily spread when virus-containing respiratory droplets enter the air as an infected person coughs, sneezes, or speaks, and are then inhaled by an uninfected person. Because the illnesses often cause similar symptoms—fever, fatigue, coughing, and body aches—it can be difficult to distinguish between them. The only way to know for sure is to be tested by a medical provider.
What’s more, both COVID-19 and flu can result in serious illness that may require hospitalization. And once you are infected with one virus, you will be more susceptible to a secondary infection. Why? As your body’s immune system is working hard to fight off the primary infection, its defenses will be down and another infection can more easily take hold. Having COVID-19 and flu at the same time can dramatically increase your risk of developing serious health complications, such as pneumonia and respiratory failure. Therefore, it’s important to get to the bottom of your illness, take appropriate steps to help your body recover, and avoid infecting others.
What to Do if You Are Sick
If you have flu-like symptoms or recently had close contact with someone who was infected with the novel coronavirus, your best course of action is to self-isolate and contact a medical provider right away. The experienced health care team at Medella Urgent Care in Magnolia and Vintage Park, Texas, is available to help. We offer a full range of urgent care services, including convenient telemedicine consultations. During a virtual visit, one of our providers can prescreen you for COVID-19 remotely, then explain your next steps, which may include coming in for a drive-up COVID-19 genetic test.
If you would like more information about COVID-19 or flu, contact Medella Urgent Care today.