As we head into our first chilly and flu season throughout the coronavirus pandemic, the convergence of those two diseases (coined with the time period twindemic) could have prompted a scary thought: is it doable to get the flu and COVID-19 on the similar time? CelebrityPie requested Amira A. Roess, PhD, MPH, who’s a professor of worldwide well being and epidemiology at George Mason College’s Faculty of Well being and Human Providers, to weigh in. She is an epidemiologist with experience in infectious ailments and evaluating interventions to cut back the transmission and affect of infectious ailments.
Can You Have the Flu and COVID-19 on the Identical Time?
“It could be doable to have each the flu and COVID-19,” Dr. Roess stated. COVID-19 is a brand new sickness, and we do not know a lot about the way it interacts with the flu because it hasn’t been round that lengthy. The flu and COVID-19 have a couple of signs in frequent, together with fever, cough, complications, chills, and physique aches. She stated it is necessary to contact your healthcare supplier for those who suspect you’ve each, to allow them to supply tailor-made steerage in your particular person scenario.
Your healthcare supplier could attempt to decide when you’ve got COVID-19 by asking you about your exposures to people who’ve lately been identified with COVID-19 or the flu and by asking you to checklist your signs, Dr. Roess stated. “Some signs like lack of style and lack of scent are very particular to COVID-19 and should assist your healthcare supplier differentiate between the 2,” she defined. Speedy exams can be found for each the flu and COVID-19 viruses, and a few healthcare suppliers could supply testing to find out what their sufferers have.
Can You Have Flu Signs and Additionally Be Asymptomatic For COVID-19?
We all know transmission of each of those viruses can happen from an individual who doesn’t have signs (asymptomatic or presymptomatic). Which is why Dr. Roess stated, “This makes outbreak response tough as a result of people usually do not know that they have been uncovered, and asymptomatic people do not know that they are exposing others.” It is crucial that in case you are identified with both virus, you alert individuals you’ve been involved with, she stated. This contains associates, household, coworkers, neighbors, and faculties in case your baby is identified.
Ought to You Get Examined For Each the Flu and COVID-19 If You are Experiencing Signs?
COVID-19 testing is broadly obtainable, and in most areas, you will get one at a testing facility in case you are symptomatic or have been uncovered, Dr. Roess defined, however she added that flu exams are typically restricted to healthcare suppliers and you will have to make an appointment to get one. It’s doable that some services could supply broader flu testing.
Your healthcare supplier could accumulate throat or nasal swabs to check for COVID-19 and the flu individually. Many suppliers have entry to fast flu exams, and more and more extra have entry to fast COVID-19 exams. Dr. Roess stated the CDC now has a take a look at beneath FDA EUA (Emergency Use Authorization) that enables for the differentiation between the COVID-19 virus and a number of other flu viruses, which permits testing for both COVID-19 and flu at the same time. Some authorities laboratories have entry to this take a look at, and hopefully with time, we’ll see extra of those exams emerge, Dr. Roess stated.
What Ought to You Do If You Have the Flu and COVID-19 on the Identical Time
Though mortality for COVID-19 appears to be higher than for the flu, it is necessary to inform a healthcare supplier for those who assume you’ve COVID-19 and the flu to allow them to make the ultimate dedication and make sure you obtain enough care. Older people and people with underlying situations should take this very severely — the earlier they get care, the higher, Dr. Roess stated.
In case your healthcare supplier determines you’ve the flu, then they could place you on an antiviral, like Tamiflu, to shorten the period of the flu, she stated.
“Since March, we’re higher at understanding what supportive therapies are useful for sure sufferers” in regard to COVID-19, she stated. We additionally acknowledge the big selection of signs that happen in COVID-19 sufferers, and this helps healthcare suppliers determine COVID-19 sufferers earlier and begin supportive therapies earlier. “There are medicines that are actually used to deal with COVID-19 sufferers beneath FDA EUA, however extra work is required to determine efficient medicines and coverings for COVID-19,” Dr. Roess stated. Your healthcare supplier will decide what the very best course of therapy is predicated in your distinctive scenario, she added.
“We’re beginning to see stories of co-infection, however there’s a lot that we do not know concerning the long-term impacts of those,” Dr. Roess stated. Older people and people with underlying situations are in danger for extreme problems from both the flu or COVID-19. “If people from these susceptible teams are contaminated by each of those at similar time, problems could also be extra extreme. For instance, each viruses assault the lungs in numerous methods. If a person’s lungs are attacked directly in a number of methods, the end result could also be grave,” she stated. Once more, there may be nonetheless loads we do not learn about how co-infections could play out, however we do know that early prognosis results in early therapy and higher outcomes. So positively search care for those who’re experiencing signs for both the flu or COVID-19.
How Can You Decrease Your Threat of Getting the Flu and COVID-19?
Though there may be not but a vaccine to forestall COVID-19, there’s a flu vaccine. It is a good suggestion to get your flu shot quickly to guard your self from the flu, Dr. Roess suggested. “Do not forget that vaccines want a bit little bit of time to permit your physique to provide an immune response. It takes about two weeks from the time you obtain your flu vaccine in your physique to develop sufficient antibodies to guard you from the flu,” she defined.
“Getting the vaccine between the top of September to the top of October is about the best time to maximise the protecting results of the vaccine,” Dr. Roess stated. If you’re an older particular person or reside with underlying situations, you are at a better threat for severe flu problems and will prioritize getting the flu vaccine.
Though meant to cut back the unfold of COVID-19, carrying masks and following handwashing and social-distancing tips may also assist decrease the unfold of the flu and colds. Dr. Roess stated it is necessary to clean your arms effectively, particularly after getting residence and earlier than consuming or dealing with meals. “We advocate washing arms with cleaning soap and water for 20 seconds. If you’re in a scenario the place you can not wash your arms, then use hand sanitizer,” she stated. An alcohol-based hand sanitizer, some say with 60 p.c alcohol content material, is advisable to kill most germs.
In regard to carrying masks, coronaviruses, influenza viruses, and different respiratory pathogens are typically unfold by way of airborne droplets, Dr. Roess stated, “so carrying a face masks will decrease your publicity to all of those. Bear in mind it can be crucial that everybody put on a face masks to guard us all.”
Face masks not solely forestall the unfold of infectious droplets, however she stated carrying one additionally makes it simple to observe different suggestions, together with avoiding touching your eyes, mouth, and nostril, since that is how many of the viruses and micro organism that make us sick get launched into our our bodies.