Can you get COVID-19 and the flu at the same time?

While flu cases were down last year due to measures like masking and social distancing to protect against the coronavirus, that is not the case this flu season.

“We are seeing more cases week after week,” said Dr. Raul Mendoza, a pulmonologist at Aurora BayCare Medical Center.

This comes as the Omicron variant of the coronavirus has spread across the country. Dr. Mendoza says he has treated a patient this year with both COVID-19 and influenza.

“It is anticipated that we will have patients with both infections. Of course, that is not good news,” he said.

If a patient has an underlying illness or immune suppression, the symptoms could be more severe, he said. People may need to be tested to tell what virus is causing their illness because some of the symptoms of flu and COVID-19 are similar, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Dr. Mendoza encourages people to get both the COVID-19 and flu vaccine. The CDC recommends children ages 5 and older receive a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as they can. The CDC also recommends everyone 6 months and older get a flu vaccine as soon as possible. Both vaccines are safe and can be given at the same time, according to the CDC.

“You can receive both the influenza vaccine and COVID vaccine. There’s no reason not to,” Dr. Mendoza said.

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