How Will Covid-19 Affect This Year's Flu Season?
With the flu season 2020upon us, many people have concerns about how the ongoing pandemic will affect it. Is the flu expected to be worse than usual this year? And when is the best time to get a flu shot? It is natural to be concerned about the threat of these two harmful viruses, especially if you have a compromised immune system and are at a higher risk. That is why we have put together this article to help you learn more about how COVID-19 will affect the flu season for 2020-21.
Is It COVID-19, or Is It the Flu?
Because coronavirus and influenza have many of the same symptoms, it can be difficult to distinguish between the two. The only accurate way to differentiate between them is by testing. Both COVID-19 and the flu will have symptoms that can include the following.
- Sore throat
- Stomach upset
One of the main characteristics of COVID-19 that is generally not present with the flu is the loss of ability to taste or smell. This is one factor that can be useful in determining if you have coronavirus or if you simply have the flu. However, you should not use that as the only indicator. If you show any of the above symptoms, you should be tested by a healthcare professional immediately.
How Have Other Countries Dealt With COVID-19 During Flu Season?
Because countries located in the Southern Hemisphere have already experienced their flu season, we can look at their patterns to see how COVID had an impact. In Australia, the rates for the flu are much lower than average for this time of year. It is believed that the current precautions we are all taking, such as social distancing and wearing face masks, are helping to successfully decrease the rates not only for COVID but also for the flu.
What Viruses Will the 2020-2021 Flu Vaccine Protect You From?
It is important to note that although both influenza and COVID-19 are viruses, the flu vaccine will not protect you from COVID-19.
Flu viruses are always changing, and therefore the flu vaccine must be altered every year and updated to protect against new threats. Flu vaccines are designed to protect against three to four viruses that research suggests will be the most common for the season.
For the 2020-2021 flu season, a trivalent egg-based vaccine is recommended. According to the CDC, it will contain the following.
- A/Guangdong-Maonan/SWL1536/2019 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus (updated)
- A/Hong Kong/2671/2019 (H3N2)-like virus (updated)
- B/Washington/02/2019 (B/Victoria lineage)-like virus (updated)
Should You Get a Flu Shot Earlier This Year Than Usual Due to COVID?
The CDC has not made any adjustments to the time frame for getting a flu vaccination. It is still recommended that you get a flu shot at the beginning of the flu season, which is between early September and late October. If you get vaccinated before that time, it could provide you with less protection against the flu later on in the flu season during the spring months.
While it is recommended to get your flu shot between September and October, as long as the flu virus is still circulating, the vaccinations will continue to be available.
Do You Have Questions About Flu Season 2020?
If you have questions or concerns about the upcoming flu season, or if you are beginning to notice symptoms of either influenza or coronavirus, get in touch with our team here at BASS Urgent Care today by calling us at (925) 329-3718. We are available to help put your worries to rest with testing and healthcare support.