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Medical experts encourage getting a flu shot this year

The worry is that a "twindemic" or the potential of seasonal flu outbreaks overlapping with the coronavirus crisis could be disastrous and deadly.

Posted: Sep 17, 2020 10:31 AM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) Doctors say getting your flu shot is always important but this year it's critical.

“Right now there is a very low influenza activity in the United States,” Dr. Dana Hawkinson, KU Medical Center Director of Infection Control and Prevention said.

The worry is that a "twindemic" or the potential of seasonal flu outbreaks overlapping with the coronavirus crisis could be disastrous and deadly.

“Anything we can do to prevent influenza and to prevent COVID, of course, we want to do,” Dr. Susan Rehm, Cleveland Clinic said.
It's the last thing an already strained health care system needs.

Medical experts say they can't tell you exactly how bad it will be if you get the flu and coronavirus at the same time, but they say you probably shouldn't roll that dice.

"We anticipate that there will be some people coming up who have both COVID-19 and influenza at the same time, which would be very devastating obviously, and increase the risk of death from one or both of them,” Dr. Rehm said.

Separately we know the flu is serious.

During 2019 there were somewhere between 410,000 and 740,000 hospitalizations and about 24,000 to 62,000 flu deaths.

Then there's the deadlier coronavirus with more than 389,000 hospitalizations and over 187,000 deaths.

We already have a vaccine for one of these threats.

“It is fully recommended for anybody six months of age and older to get the influenza vaccine that has not changed," Dr. Hawkinson said.

Getting the vaccine while also practicing good COVID-19 prevention techniques could help us prevent a twindemic, overwhelming our hospitals, business and schools from closing.

"When we keep each other safe, we get to normalcy a lot faster. when we don't keep each other safe, you see that's when trouble comes so stay out of trouble. shelter in place when you can, get out in public but when you do it wear a mask, keep your distance when you're sick, stay home when you are sick," Dr. Steve Stites, KU Medical Center, Chief Medical Officer said.

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Humid and warm conditions are set to continue today. Today will not be quite as warm as yesterday, however temperatures will still warm into the lower 90s this afternoon with heat index values approaching triple digits. There are a few isolated showers and thunderstorms this morning, mainly east of I-35. That will be possible off and on today, however a better chance for showers and storms will return tonight into the overnight hours. A few storms could be on the strong to severe side overnight. Scattered showers and storms will continue off and on mainly through the morning and afternoon hours on Saturday. Temperatures will be much cooler on Saturday with highs in the mid 80s. Dry and sunny conditions will take over on Sunday and continue into next week as temperatures stay seasonal.
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