Michigan health experts urge COVID, flu shots to prevent risk of co-infection

“So again, anything that we can do to prevent either of these through a vaccination is highly recommended.”
Doctors are urging Michiganders to get vaccinated for COVID and the flu.
Published: Oct. 12, 2022 at 6:05 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Flu season is here and COVID never left. Mid-Michigan health experts are now warning communities about the risks of COVID and flu co-infection.

Oct. 11, 2022: Michigan reports 12,548 new COVID cases, 152 deaths over past 7 days

Sparrow’s Chief Clinical Officer, Dr. Paul Entler said “if you get the flu and COVID at the same time – they’re both viruses, they act a little bit different. You get severely ill from it and potentially die.”

Health experts said co-infection with respiratory viruses, like the flu and COVID, can be avoided with vaccinations for each virus – at the same time.

“We are starting flu testing of course in urgent care centers and hospitals because the flu is starting to circulate,” said Jackson County Health Department’s Deputy Health Officer, Matthew Budd.

Related: Michigan health experts predict bad flu season ahead

Budd said right now, flu cases are pretty low and COVID is stable in Jackson County. But experts are expecting numbers to increase during the winter months because people spend more time huddled indoors.

“So if you have two viruses at the same time affecting the tissues and the lungs, you’re more likely to get a bacterial infection as well on top of the viral infection. And then, we give you antibiotics to try and treat that, but then you have to have your own immunity as well,” said Dr. Entler.

Experts said having one of the vaccines in your system helps get your health back on track sooner than later. “So that means anyone who’s even received that previous booster in the past is eligible for that updated booster dose. And that includes a booster against newer variants of COVID-19,” said Budd.

For now, experts are monitoring COVID cases and flu infections hoping for the best but, preparing for the worst.

Related: FDA clears updated COVID boosters for kids as young as 5

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