SAN ANGELO, Texas — More people are expected to get the flu shot this year as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

“The CDC is anticipating more people will get the flu vaccine this year just because of the COVID-19 pandemic going on,” said Tiffany Nunez, APRN, FNP-BC.

Fall starts in just a few weeks and medical experts are stressing the importance of getting a flu vaccine this year.

“More so now that ever. It is approved for those 6 months and up. We have high doses available for older individuals. It is extremely important that everyone get their flu vaccine,” explained Nunez.

According to the Shannon Clinic family nurse practitioner, flu symptoms like fever, congestion and body aches may be confused with symptoms of COVID-19, which can be similar.

“The hard part is they are very close to the same symptoms of COVID-19. Some of them intersect and are the same so that does create a challenge for us in healthcare, trying to figure out what steps to take,” added Nunez.

Nunez said the best way to find out if you have the flu or COVID-19 is to contact your PCP or visit a clinic to get tested. With a COVID-19 vaccine on the horizon, she said it’ll be important for people to get both vaccines.

“There’s no evidence showing that the COVID-19 will prevent you from getting the flu or vice-versa. You would have to get both,” continued Nunez.

With many already practicing social distancing and good handwashing, she hopes the number of flu cases normally seen during the fall and winter months will be lower this season.

“Are we gonna see a lot of it? People seem to be taking more precautions because of COVID-19. People are washing their hands a lot, using hand sanitizer, wearing masks. I’m hoping we see a decrease in cases this year,” said Nunez.

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