PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Flu season is quickly approaching as cases of the COVID-19 delta variant continue to surge. Many doctors are fearing this flu season could set back efforts to contain the pandemic.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends getting the flu shot by the end of October, so they say now is the time to get the shot to protect yourself this season.READ MORE: Police: Man, 2 Children Injured In Crash In Willingboro
Doctors are projecting a tricky flu season ahead. They are anticipating more flu cases than normal.
“Basically, we haven’t had flu circulating in this country in over a year, which means we don’t have any built-up immunity in our population to influenza,” Gemma Downham, corporate director of patient safety and infection prevention for AtlantiCare, said.
Mix flu cases with COVID ones and that’s something causing concern as hospitals fear their resources could be stretched far too thin.
“We are very concerned about potentially having patients presenting with flu and need hospitalizations on top of already having a fourth wave of COVID pandemic,” Downham said.
COVID and flu symptoms are very similar and while testing can help tell the difference, one key symptom sets them apart.READ MORE: Big Decision Looming For SEPTA Employees As Union Fights For Better Wages For Its Workers
“With COVID, there is a loss of taste or smell. That is not something you would get with the flu, but a lot of the symptoms can be similar,” Downham said.
To protect yourself from both, Downham says it’s safe to get both vaccines at the time.
“The COVID booster shot or any kind of vaccine and the flu shot can be given at the same time. Neither vaccine contains live virus,” Downham said.
If you are concerned about side effects, you can space out the shots. In the meantime, Downham is squashing the biggest rumors of all.
“There is no live virus in those vaccines so you can’t get COVID from the COVID vaccine and you can’t get flu from the flu vaccine. You may have mild side effects, but it’s your immune system kicking in and you will know you are protected,” Downham said.MORE NEWS: Flames Put Out After Tearing Through Mount Laurel Home
Doctors are reminding parents to get their kids the flu shot. This will help stop the spread in schools.