What having Covid-19 and flu together could do to your body

“You can certainly get both the flu and Covid-19 at the same time, which could be catastrophic to your immune system,” stated Dr. Adrian Burrowes, a household drugs doctor in Florida.

In truth, getting contaminated with one could make you extra susceptible to getting sick with the opposite, epidemiologist Dr. Seema Yasmin stated.

“Once you get infected with the flu and some other respiratory viruses, it weakens your body,” stated Yasmin, director of the Stanford Health Communication Initiative.

“Your defenses go down, and it makes you vulnerable to getting a second infection on top of that.”

On their very own, each Covid-19 and the flu can assault the lungs, probably inflicting pneumonia, fluid in the lungs or respiratory failure, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stated.
Each sickness may trigger sepsis, cardiac damage and inflammation of the heart, brain or muscle tissues.

Having each sickness concurrently “would increase the risk of longer-term effects of any of those organ systems,” stated Dr. Michael Matthay, a professor of medication and a important care specialist on the University of California, San Francisco.

But it is too early to know precisely how a lot worse that double whammy could be, in contrast to having every virus by itself.

That’s as a result of Covid-19 did not unfold throughout the US till close to the top of the final flu season, Matthay stated. So there’s not numerous information but on individuals who get each sicknesses on the similar time.

But Matthay suspects the potential for pneumonia can be higher if the body is contaminated with each the flu and coronavirus.

“The two (viruses) together definitely could be more injurious to the lungs and cause more respiratory failure,” he stated.

Respiratory failure would not essentially imply your lungs cease working. It means the lungs cannot get sufficient oxygen into the blood.

“Acute respiratory failure can be a life-threatening emergency,” the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute says. “Respiratory failure may cause damage to your lungs and other organs, so it is important to get treated quickly.”

How can I inform if I’ve Covid-19 or the flu (or each)?

“Symptoms of influenza and Covid-19 are pretty similar, so it’s difficult to distinguish the two,” stated Dr. Leonard Mermel, medical director for the Department of Epidemiology and Infection Control at Rhode Island Hospital.

Both the flu and Covid-19 may give you a fever, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, sore throat, body aches and a runny or stuffy nostril, the CDC said.
So your kid has a Covid-19 symptom. What do you do now?

“Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults,” the CDC stated.

But in contrast to the flu, Covid-19 may cause a loss of taste or smell.

So the easiest way to know you probably have the novel coronavirus or the flu (or each) is to get examined.

The CDC has created a check that will check for both viruses, to be used at CDC-supported public well being labs. The company stated it’s persevering with to manufacture and distribute these exams.

How can I keep away from this flu-Covid-19 double whammy?

Wear a masks and maintain bodily distancing. Health officers have careworn the importance of masks and bodily distancing if Americans need to management Covid-19 — and get the economy back on track.

With the upcoming flu season, such precautions can “doubly protect us from both of those viruses,” Yasmin stated.

In the Southern Hemisphere, which is simply ending its winter months and flu season, a number of international locations have reported astonishingly low flu numbers as people wear masks and social distance.
Get tested for Covid-19 if you socialized closely over Labor Day, Dr. Birx says
In Australia, for instance, the variety of lab-confirmed flu instances plummeted from 61,000 in August 2019 to 107 cases this August.

But within the US, some individuals are getting lax about masks sporting and social distancing. And that is an enormous drawback, stated Dr. Jeanne Marrazzo, director of the Division of Infectious Diseases on the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

She stated there could be a “perfect storm of accelerated Covid-19 activity, as people gather more — inside, in particular — as they become continually fatigued with the mask wearing, the social distancing and the hand hygiene, and as they are exposed to seasonal influenza.”

Get a flu vaccine. This could sound apparent. Yet about half of all Americans do not get vaccinated in opposition to the flu, including most children who die from the flu.
Even for those who get a flu shot and nonetheless catch the flu later, the symptoms are usually less severe than for those who acquired no flu vaccine in any respect.

And since no Covid-19 vaccine is publicly obtainable but, the flu shot is the one approach you possibly can assist inoculate your self in opposition to having each viruses on the similar time.

Pediatrician: It's time for all schools to require flu shots
Pediatricians say it is necessary for youngsters 6 months and older to get the flu vaccine, ideally earlier than the top of October. “Timely influenza vaccination is particularly important” this flu season, the American Academy of Pediatrics wrote this week.

Getting a flu shot may assist many extra folks than simply your self, stated immunologist Dr. Susan Bailey, president of the American Medical Association.

“Since hospitals and doctors’ offices are going to be very busy caring for Covid-19 patients, a flu vaccine can help decrease burdens on the health care system and make sure that those who need medical care are able to get it,” Bailey stated.

About 140,000 to 810,000 Americans get hospitalized with the flu every year, in accordance to the CDC. And the variety of Covid-19 hospitalizations are anticipated to surge more than 150% between now and December 1, in accordance to the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.

“Every year, many patients get severe influenza with respiratory failure,” Matthay stated. Among sufferers who get extreme pneumonia from the flu, “the vast majority of those patients have not had their flu vaccine that year.”

CNN’s Amanda Watts, Jen Rose Smith, John Bonifield, Jacqueline Howard and Elizabeth Cohen contributed to this report.

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