The year 2020 is no less than a roller costar ride for all of us. We are stuck in a pandemic situation for the last nine months without a vaccine. Until the vaccine comes out, several theories will continue to come out on the internet of how to keep yourself safe and protected during these times.
There are days when we wake up and feel groggy and feverish. We instantly start wondering, “Could this be Covid-19? or Could this be Flu?” Different ideas starts popping up like what if it’s both?
Fighting off two respiratory infections at the same time could be catastrophic for your immune system. The possibility of people being sick with both flu and COVID-19 at the same time is the scenario which the health care professionals fear the most right now.
It is highly unlikely that you would contract both the infections at the same time but it is definitely possible that you could get one infection after another and wind the both at the same time. This is a dangerous condition for your health as it can deplete your immune system totally.
Fighting off one infection makes a person’s immune system weak to fight off another invader.
What does WHO think?
According to WHO, comparisons have been drawn between COVID-19 and influenza. It says that both cause respiratory disease, but are yet different from each other. There is a difference in how both the viruses spread. Though they have similarities in symptoms like mild fever and cold and both viruses are transmitted by contact, droplets, and fomites.
Therefore, proper hygiene has to be maintained in both cases like washing hands and maintaining good respiratory etiquette. But the major difference among them is the speed of transmission difference between the two viruses.
#COVID19 vs influenza: both cause respiratory
disease, yet there are important differences between the two viruses and how they spread.
— World Health Organization (WHO) (@WHO) March 7, 2020
Influenza has a shorter median incubation period (the time from infection to appearance of symptoms) and a shorter serial interval (the time between successive cases) than the COVID-19 virus. The serial interval for the COVID-19 virus is estimated to be 5-6 days, while for the influenza virus, the serial interval is 3 days. This means that influenza can spread faster than COVID-19. While the mortality for COVID-19 appears higher than for influenza
“The antivirals and vaccines available for influenza but the influenza vaccine is not effective against COVID-19 virus, it is highly recommended to get vaccinated each year to prevent influenza infection”, said WHO.
It becomes harder for your immune system to suddenly switch gears to produce the large numbers of antibodies required to neutralize the second virus if you are exposed to SARS-CoV-2 (or vice-versa) after already coping with an influenza infection.
Ways to prevent or reduce the possibility of getting both the virus are:
- In order to reduce the possibility of getting the flu and COVID-19 at the same time, it is advised to get a flu shot. But this vaccine won’t protect you from coronavirus.
- You should continue to wear a mask in public.
- Always maintain social distancing and stay at least 6 feet away from other people.
- Wash your hands frequently.
- Since the symptoms of both the viruses are the same, always visit a doctor if you see any symptoms of flu or cold. Do not try to take medicine of your own.