Health Experts Warn of Possible "Twindemic" This Flu Season

There's a chance you could wind up battling COVID-19 and the flu at the same time this year, and experts are urging the public to get their flu shots to help prevent that very real possibility.

Posted: Oct 2, 2020 12:22 AM

Around this time each year health experts warn the public to get vaccinated ahead of flu season, but this year there's an even bigger push.

With COVID-19 sticking around, there's now a very real threat of two deadly virus circulating at the same time. 

"Looking at two separate infections going on at the same time that have similar characteristics and can both have devastating outcomes," said Dr. Phllip Adams, health director at Deaconess Midtown Hospital in Evansville.

It's what many experts fear will happen this fall and winter and what the internet is now calling a "twindemic."

Dr. Adams said if people were to get both COVID-19 and the flu at once, there could be even more long term effects.

"There is some thought that if the patient already has the flu on top of that to reduce the immune system, that we may have a more inflammatory response," he said. "And with that we may have worsening organ damage, worsening pneumonia and it may be a much bigger obstacle for patients than with either of these diseases alone.

The CDC shared a startling statistic Thursday. It estimates about 22 thousand people died last from the flu last season -- enough to fill Madison Square Garden in New York City.

But there is one line of defense that could drastically limit the risk.

It's very important to get that flu shot, Adams said.

"While it can't protect against the coronavirus, it certainly may help with a combination of those two infections at the same time," he said.

With several Tri-State counties sitting at high warning levels with growing case counts it's important now more than ever to get vaccinated.

"The sooner you can get it the better," Dr. Adams said. "Honestly to provide that protection, it takes a couple of weeks to really build that immunity and that's what we're looking at -- to really make sure we help that vulnerable population."

You can easily schedule an appointment to get your flu shot at your local health provider, or most pharmacies offer walk-up service. It takes less than 5 minutes.

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