Could COVID-19 Complicate the 2020 Flu Season?

Health experts have been struggling to manage the COVID-19 pandemic from the beginning since there is no vaccine available to the public yet. COVID-19 isn’t going anywhere anytime soon and now a new health risk is upon us – flu season. Flu season comes each year, but in 2020, it’s worrying health experts more than ever before. Let’s take a closer look to understand how COVID-19 impacts this year’s flu season and what you can do to help!

How Will COVID-19 Impact Flu Season? 

COVID-19 has stressed the American healthcare system like never before. Areas that experience a sudden rise in the number of cases are struggling to find the space and healthcare staff to care for everyone in need. Experts fear that when the flu season reaches its peak, as COVID-19 cases continue to climb, the healthcare system simply won’t be able to handle it. The most recent data shows that in the 2018-2019 flu season there were nearly 500,000 flu related hospitalizations. When you combine numbers like that with the current COVID-19 numbers, there simple isn’t enough space, staff, or supplies to go around. Some of the leaders in healthcare are warning that COVID-19 has the potential to cause a higher number of flu related deaths than previous years have seen as people are forced to wait longer to receive the care that they need. 

Preventative Measures

All of those facts sound scary and truthfully, they should! There are plenty of preventative measures the American people can take to lower the number of flu cases, slow the spread of COVID-19, and prevent a healthcare crisis. Some of the most important preventative measures you can take include: 

  • Wearing a mask – wearing a mask is an easy change to your daily routine that has a big impact on the health of not only you, but everyone you come in contact with. Both COVID-19 and the flu can be spread through respiratory droplets that come out when you talk, cough, or sneeze. Wearing a mask greatly reduces that risk. 
  • Practice social distancing – health experts are urging people to keep a 6-foot distance from anyone that doesn’t live in the same household as them. This guideline was put in place to control the number of COVID-19 cases, but it will help reduce the number of flu cases too. 
  • Get tested as needed – if you believe you’re suffering from COVID-19 or the flu, visit a local urgent care center to get tested right away. Testing is an easy process and allows you to know your current health status so you can avoid putting others at risk if you test positive. 
  • Get your flu shot – you should get a flu shot every year, but especially in 2020. This is the most effective way to prevent the flu. Your flu shot is covered by insurance and has little to no side effects, so there’s no reason not to get one! 
  • Wash your hands – frequent hand washing should be used in combination with the other preventative methods discussed. Wash your hands frequently throughout the day, especially if you’re around other people and touching high-touch surfaces that are likely to contain germs or bacteria. 

To get your flu shot and to get tested for COVID-19 or the flu, contact a nearby urgent care center today!