At this point in the COVID-19 pandemic, almost everyone has experienced the panic and uncertainty associated with mild COVID-like symptoms such as a cough and sore throat, and day after day of negative tests. With cold and flu season just around the corner, this state of frustrating uncertainty is likely to hit most of us again.
Both COVID-19 and influenza are contagious respiratory diseases that have similar symptomswhich makes it difficult to distinguish between them viral infections without laboratory analysis. Testing is the only way to know which virus is causing your symptoms. In fact, labs are working on a single test that can detect both COVID-19 and the flu.
How professor of nursing with experience of population health promotion, I’m often asked about the differences between the flu and COVID-19. I’m getting a lot of questions this year about the timing of getting a new booster due to COVID-19 and flu shot and whether they can be given together.
Analysis of symptoms
Symptoms of both COVID-19 and the flu can range from mild or no noticeable symptoms to severe. For now flu infection usually does not affect the ability to taste and smell, loss of taste or smell was a common symptom associated with COVID-19 infection. Both infections can cause fever, chills, body aches and fatigue. more severe symptoms of any infection include difficulty breathing and subsequent infections such as pneumonia.
During 2021-2022 flu season, the term “fluron” COVID-19 has made its way into the vernacular. Fluron refers to co-infection with both the flu and COVID-19. So far, there are only isolated cases of accompanying infections reported, it wouldn’t be surprising if there were more of them in the coming flu season. Getting vaccinated against the flu and COVID-19 is your best defense against both.
With the new COVID-19 vaccine now available and flu season just around the corner, the natural question is whether there is an optimal time to get two shots.
The answer to this question is to get both as soon as possible. It is important to consider that after vaccination, the body needs about two weeks to develop antibodies against both Vaccines against the covid-19 coronavirus infection and flu vaccine.
As long as you have completed your core series of COVID-19 vaccines and it has been at least eight weeks since your last COVID-19 booster, now is the time to get an updated vaccine against COVID-19 which targets both the original strain of SARS-CoV-2—the virus that causes COVID-19—and the most recent omicron subvariants. The original COVID-19 vaccines and booster series have been drastically reduced number of COVID-19 infections and deathsalso how cases of severe form of COVID-19 which lead to hospitalization.
While everyone 6 months of age and older is recommended to be vaccinated against both COVID-19 and influenza, certain populations are at higher risk of severe infection, such as pregnant womenand should exercise special vigilance when vaccinating.
In addition, among those vaccinated against COVID-19, symptoms during infection usually softer. However, due in part to the rapid evolution of the virus, it has become clear that immune protection from vaccination against COVID-19 or infection does not last forever. Although studies show that the primary series of COVID-19 remains effective against severe disease and death six months after vaccination, protection against infection declines between 20% to 30% up to six months after vaccination.
This decrease in immune defenses is for sure why booster shots are so important. Without widespread revaccination in the population, the rate of infection with COVID-19 may rise again.
Time is also important flu vaccine. Influenza cases usually begin to rise in October and peak between December and February. but may continue until May. Ideally, people should get vaccinated before the flu starts to spread September or early October the perfect time to get a flu shot.
A tough flu season ahead
Due to lockdowns, reduced travel, school closures and mask requirements in the first and second years of the pandemic, as 2020-2021 and 2021-2022 flu seasons it is estimated that there have been fewer hospitalizations and deaths from the flu compared to many years before the pandemic.
In the fall of 2021, experts became concerned about the possibility of a “twin pandemic” of COVID-19 and influenza, especially with the lifting of restrictions on COVID-19 and the removal of masks. Fortunately, the worst did not happen – the number of flu in the 2021-2022 season did not return to the level that was before the pandemic. However, the possibility of a “double demi-demia” is not excluded in the upcoming flu season.
Flu seasons are coming inherently difficult to predict. As most people travel again, schools reopen, masks are lifted, and workers return to offices, people will undoubtedly be exposed to germs they’ve been more protected from for the past two and a half years.
In addition to this, flu vaccine rates were lower during the pandemicsuggesting that Americans may have gotten out of the habit of getting their annual flu shot.
Combination of pictures
Many also wonder if it is possible or necessary to get an updated COVID-19 shot and a flu shot at the same time. Good news: yes it is safe for both adults and children 12 years of age and older who are eligible for a COVID-19 booster to receive these vaccines at the same time.
A recent study found that common side effects of the vaccine, such as pain at the injection site happened at a slightly higher rate if someone received the flu vaccine and the COVID-19 vaccine at the same time, as opposed to only receiving the COVID-19 booster. However, these reactions, including fatigue and headache, were mild and disappeared within a day or two.
You do not need to make two separate vaccination visits until you are due for your next COVID-19 vaccination. However, I don’t recommend waiting to get your flu shot if you haven’t already had your COVID-19 booster. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone get the flu vaccine by the end of October. But if you miss this deadline, it’s absolutely better to vaccinate later in the season than not vaccinate at all.
Society also matters
Getting the flu and COVID-19 vaccines is not just about your health, it’s about the health of your family and community. Communities with higher vaccination rates have fewer opportunities for the virus to spread.
Keep in mind that many people cannot be vaccinated because they have a weakened immune system or are undergoing treatment. They depend on those around them for protection. While one person may experience mild symptoms when they contract the flu or COVID-19, they can spread the virus to others who may become seriously ill. Because it’s impossible to predict how people will react when they get sick, the best prevention strategy is getting the flu and COVID-19 vaccine.
Citation: When should you get your new COVID-19 shot and flu shot? Now is the best time for both (2022, September 22) Retrieved September 22, 2022, from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2022-09-covid-booster-flu-shot.html
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