Doctors worry about the flu, COVID-19 colliding

VIDEO: Doctors worry getting flu, COVID simultaneously could be dangerous

Doctors are calling it a perfect storm — one they can already see coming — when the flu collides with COVID-19 this fall.

Health experts are warning everyone to get a flu shot this year. They are concerned about the health risks of people getting the flu and COVID-19 at the same time and also said the combination could overwhelm hospitals and clinics.

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At Overlake Hospital and Medical Center in Bellevue, Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Edward Leonard said he recommends waiting until October to get a flu shot. He said the flu immunization lasts for six months. And if the immunizations are given too early, they will wear off before the flu season is over.

“So if you get the vaccine now or in August, if you do the math, you’re talking about it losing its ability to protect come February while, regularly, we see our flu season last into April,” said Leonard.

If someone chooses to get a flu shot early, in August or September, Leonard said they might need a booster in February to be covered through the entire flu season.

COVID-19 and the flu have similar symptoms: fevers, aches and pains all over, cough and diarrhea. But Leonard said the loss of taste and smell occur with COVID-19 and are not symptoms of the flu.

This year, the American Academy of Pediatrics is recommending children six months and older get a flu shot. As with COVID-19, children are also likely to spread the flu.