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Flu and COVID-19 share things in common, including a vaccine

October 14, 2021

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Flu and COVID-19 share things in common, including a vaccine

COVID-19 and the flu have a lot in common.

Both are caused by a virus.

Both can cause a fever, cough or pneumonia. In the worst-case scenario, both can be deadly.
And you can be vaccinated against both of them.

Vaccines are readily available for both COVID-19 and the flu right in your own community. The vaccines can protect you from either virus or shorten its duration and severity.

“Get both of the vaccines. They are the best defense we all have against COVID-19 and against the flu. If you have not received the COVID-19 vaccine yet, or if you are getting the booster, you can get your COVID-19 shot at the same time you get your flu shot,” said Dr. Eugene Curley, a WellSpan infectious disease physician. “Also continue masking when you cannot observe social distancing and washing your hands. Those precautions will protect us from COVID-19 during the current surge in cases and resulted in a great reduction in flu cases last year.”

Here’s more about the similarities, and some differences, between COVID-19 and the flu:

CAUSE
COVID-19: The novel 2019 coronavirus or SARS CoV2.

Flu: Different strains and types of the influenza virus, which vary from year to year.

HOW IT SPREADS
Both: Droplets traveling through the air (talking, sneezing, coughing, shouting), touching a surface with viruses on it.

SYMPTOMS
Both: Fever, cough, shortness of breath, headache, body aches, fatigue, sometimes nausea and diarrhea.
COVID-19: Loss of taste and smell. Also, some people display no symptoms.

COMPLICATIONS
COVID-19: Long-term damage to the lungs, heart, kidneys, brain and other organs, pneumonia, septic shock, multi-organ failure, acute respiratory distress syndrome, and a variety of long-lasting symptoms in COVID “long haulers,” including brain fog, headaches and shortness of breath. Also, death.

Flu: Inflammation of the heart, brain or muscles, multi-organ failure, secondary bacterial infections, particularly pneumonia. Also, death.

DEATH RATES
COVID-19: About 690,000 deaths in the U.S. since January 2020, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

Flu: Between 12,000 and 79,000 deaths a year in the U.S., according to the CDC. COVID-19 is much more deadly than the flu, with a fatality rate that could be 10 times higher than the flu.

PREVENTION
Both: Vaccines, masks, handwashing, and social distancing.
Schedule a flu vaccine here. Schedule a COVID-19 vaccine here. Talk to your provider if you want to get both shots at the same time or find a provider here.