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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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A few areas of frost are possible this morning as temperatures have fallen into the mid 30s. Today temperatures will remain below average with highs in the upper 50s and lower 60s under mostly sunny skies. A few clouds will move back into the area tonight as temperatures dip down into the mid to lower 30s. Areas of frost will be possible again early Thursday morning. Conditions will stay relatively the same on Thursday with highs in the upper 50s under mostly sunny skies. Rain chances will move back into the area on Friday, mainly through the afternoon and evening keeping temperatures in the lower 50s. A few rain showers could linger through early Saturday morning before moving out of the area. Sunday looks to be a dry and mild day with temperatures remaining in the upper 50s. Temperatures will start to warm up on Monday with highs back in the low to mid 60s before a cold front moves through the area dropping temperatures back into the 50s on Tuesday.
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