SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – The last thing health officials want is a “twindemic,” or wave of flu infections during the COVID-19 pandemic. But in just a few weeks that could be the reality.
“You know, co-infection would really be a double whammy,” said Dr. Lawton Davis, director of the eight-county Coastal Health District (CHD).
The seasonal flu and COVID-19 are both viruses that attack the lungs. Davis says it’s hard for medical professionals to tell them apart.
“They’re both respiratory tract infections,” he explained, “they both cause fever headaches, chills, cough, runny nose.”
Despite this, and the “twindemic” buzzword, the viruses aren’t twins. COVID-19 has a much higher mortality rate and spreads easier than the flu.
“I would think that each would tend to make the other a little worse, so to speak,” Davis said.
The CHD director says getting the flu shot is the best way to prevent what could be a major attack on your immune system.
“I’m not aware of a lot of reasons not to take it, and I am aware of a lot of reasons you should take it,” Davis said.
By applying widespread mask use and strict social distancing guidelines, he says countries like Chile and New Zealand have virtually wiped out their flu season.
“If we could persuade our people to meticulously practice all of those good public health practices, it may be that we could significantly limit or mitigate the severity of our flu season as well,” Davis explained.
CHD is expected to receive its seasonal flu vaccines any day now. Davis says the best time to get the shot is around October when the season begins to peak.