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Can You Have Flu and COVID-19 at the Same Time?

Graphic of flu virus exiting respiratory system

Oct. 21 2020

Health experts are warning of a potential "twindemic" when the COVID-19 pandemic and the flu epidemic surge simultaneously this fall and winter. 

In this segment on WIS, Dawndy Mercer Plank discusses flu and COVID-19 with Leah Clanton, MD, with Lexington Hospitalists. Dr. Clanton notes research shows as many as 20-30 percent of patients with COVID-19 are co-infected with another virus like influenza.

Because the symptoms of flu and COVID-19 are similar, it's likely health providers will test patients for both viruses in order to make an accurate diagnosis. 

Dr. Clanton warns that there is growing evidence that COVID-19 antibodies may not last indefinitely so it is possible to become re-infected with COVID-19. Also, COVID-19 antibodies do not provide protection against influenza or other viruses. 

The most important thing you can do to avoid getting the flu, and a potential co-infection of flu and COVID-19, is to get a flu vaccine. 

Experts are hopeful the increased focus on handwashing, mask wearing and social distancing will reduce the number of flu cases this year. 

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Disclaimer: This blog is intended for general understanding and education about Lexington Medical Center. Nothing on the blog should be considered or used as a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Blog visitors with personal health or medical questions should consult their health care provider.