As flu season draws near, medical experts warn about a possible “twindemic” that could add stress to hospitals that are already struggling with the coronavirus.
Every year, medical experts recommend people go out and receive a flu vaccine ahead of the annual flu season. However, this year that is becoming more urged by health care practitioners as COVID-19 testing still remains in high demand.
“We are facing the prospects of moving forward over the course of the next number of months of moving into flu season,” said Gov. Newsom in a press conference on Aug. 26. “People that develop flu-like symptoms are going to understandably and likely request that they get tested not only for flu, but also get tested for COVID-19.”
According to the Orange County Health Care Agency, there are 49,845 total cases of COVID-19 in Orange County as of Monday.
While there is not yet a vaccine for COVID-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the influenza vaccinations are “one of the most effective ways to minimize spread and risk of infection caused by the flu virus.”
Experts urge that receiving a flu vaccination ahead of flu season should help to alleviate any potential spike in testing materials for COVID-19 or the flu.
Cal State Fullerton students can receive a flu vaccine through the Student Wellness Center on campus. Students who pay a health fee with their tuition can receive one at no cost.
“I think the difficulty with that and the coronavirus will be that the symptoms can be very much similar, and because of that it can be very very confusing. Somebody comes in, has a fever, has a sore throat and it can be either one,” said Dr. Richard Boucher, Cal State Fullerton’s chief staff physician at the center.
Although he said he does not think there will be a higher expectancy of students on campus who are eager to receive a vaccination.
“In my past experience, having been here 23 years, I’ve never seen an overwhelming request to get this done. On the other hand, at this point we’re a much different stadium, if you will, a much different ball game right now and that might prompt more people to get the flu vaccine,” Boucher said.
Aside from on-campus resources, students can receive the flu shot through their own private doctor or medical practitioner. Pharmaceutical companies like CVS and Walgreens also provide flu vaccinations that are covered by most insurance plans.
Boucher said the advantage of having the flu vaccine on campus is that it is a lower cost than through insurance.
“Let's say you had to use your private doctor, and that's fine, but there's a co-pay. We don't have a co-pay here. You already paid it basically in paying your student fee and some of the services are at no cost,” Boucher said.
The CDC still recommends that everyone continues to practice social distancing and wear a mask correctly to slow the spread of COVID-19 ahead of the flu season. Washing your hands constantly and disinfecting regularly touched surfaces is still a must.
Boucher said that people should wash their hands for 20 seconds, use hand sanitizer with 60% alcohol and cover their nose down to the chin when wearing a mask.
“If you're wearing the mask and you're not covering your nose, well that's respiratory, it can still come out your nose and the mask is designed to protect the people around you. So if everybody wears a mask we're protecting everybody around us and they're protecting us,” Boucher said.