Health officials advise public to get flu shots ahead of flu season amid pandemic

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - The start of flu season is posing a unique threat this year as COVID-19 continues to spread. To help stop both viruses from going around at the same time, Florida health officials want the public to get their flu shot.

Flu season starts Oct. 1.

“It’s entirely possible that this flu season could be more severe than seasons we’ve had in the past because of COVID-19,” said Broward Health Medical Center CMO Dr. Josh Lenchus.

On the other hand, everything being done to prevent the spread of coronavirus should help with the flu too.

“Because more people are wearing a mask, washing hands, physically distancing from others that are sick, so I think time will tell,” said Lenchus.

Millions get the flu every year. Tens of thousands of people die from it, but this year, with no vaccine, COVID-19 is a far greater threat.

Doctors are worried some people could get both.

“People with more than one bad respiratory thing going on at the same time do worse,” said Florida International University infectious disease expert Dr. Aileen Marty. “They’re more likely to end up in a hospital, more likely to end up in ICU.”

Still, the number one recommendation for flu prevention is the vaccine, and now’s the time to get it.

There is, however, real hope.

The current way of life of Americans will keep cases down this year.

It’s already happening in other areas of the world.

“Because people were being so mindful of COVID-19, it was one of the least dangerous flu seasons the southern hemisphere has seen, and so we can do the same thing,” said Marty.

The CDC recommends everyone 6 months of age or older to get the flu shot.

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