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Influenza and COVID-19: The Twindemic

Specializes in Education, FP, LNC, Forensics, ED, OB.

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As public health officials look to fall and Winter, the specter of a new surge of Covid-19 gives them chills. But there is a scenario they dread even more: a severe flu season, resulting in a “twindemic.”

But now, fighting flu proactively during the continuing pandemic presents significant challenges: not only how to administer the shot safely and readily, but also how to prompt people to get a shot that a majority of Americans have typically distrusted, dismissed and skipped.

Fearing a 'Twindemic,' Health Experts Push Urgently for Flu Shots

Are you getting the Flu shot this year?

Do you think the COVID-19 Pandemic will heighten during the Flu season?

Yes, always do get the flu shot.

It's hard to say how covid + flu season scenario will play out. Although there are a lot of people not wearing masks, this is the first flu season where a lot of people are wearing masks; essentially the first flu season where anyone is wearing a mask. No way of knowing ahead of time but we might be surprised what effect this has on things overall. Plenty of people are being more cautious about their activities than they were last year, too, and there have been a lot of adjustments to other public activities and in general more precautions being taken.

Nurse SMS, MSN, RN

Specializes in Critical Care; Cardiac; Professional Development.

I always get the flu shot. This year will be no different. I was surprised during a meeting last week to find out how many people are worrying about getting it early this year due to fears of both Covid and flu together.

Getting my shot (and a second in February) as soon as they are available. I agree with JKL. It will be very interesting to see what the flu rate is with even a percentage of people wearing masks. With any luck it will mitigate things otherwise we are likely to be in real trouble from a resource standpoint.

NRSKarenRN, BSN, RN

Specializes in Vents, Telemetry, Home Care, Home infusion.

Get my Flu shot yearly in Sept./Oct. as soon as available.

Kitiger, RN

Specializes in Private Duty Pediatrics.

15 minutes ago, NRSKarenRN said:

Get my Flu shot yearly in Sept./Oct. as soon as available.

Same here, but I can't get my husband to do it. 🙄

Tenebrae, BSN, RN

Specializes in Mental Health, Gerontology, Palliative.

I got mine in march as soon as it was avaliable at work

I'll get it every year.

I usually get it due to work because at the time the alternative WAS wearing a mask throughout your shift. But even with the mask on I’ll get it anyways.

On 8/17/2020 at 8:02 AM, sirI said:

Fearing a 'Twindemic,' Health Experts Push Urgently for Flu Shots

Are you getting the Flu shot this year?

Do you think the COVID-19 Pandemic will heighten during the Flu season?

As in years past, I will be getting an influenza vaccine.

I've been following Australia's flu data. Due to social distancing, cases have been very low. I think the severity of the influenza season in the U.S. will depend on citizens' behavior. If we all get together with our families over Thanksgiving and Christmas, there will be trouble. If we stick to social distancing, limiting contact with others and wearing masks, we could decrease influenza cases (similar to Australia). Sadly, the United States is full of selfish citizens. Based on Summer behavior, I think this will be a horrible flu/Covid season.

Kitiger, RN

Specializes in Private Duty Pediatrics.

On 8/17/2020 at 3:33 PM, Kitiger said:

Same here, but I can't get my husband to do it. 🙄

I got my flu shot yesterday. It's a little early, but I didn't want to have to deal with shortages, later in the season.

VivaLasViejas, ASN, RN

Specializes in LTC, assisted living, med-surg, psych.

I get one every year. The last time I had the flu was in 1992 and the pneumonia and bronchitis that it spawned hung on, literally, for months. Spent the whole Winter and Spring bouncing in and out of the ER with asthma exacerbations too. I learned my lesson and haven’t missed a flu shot since.

I do wonder if flu season might be mitigated somewhat because of social distancing and mask-wearing. I’d like to think positively. But there’s always that element that whines about being deprived of their “freedom” when asked to wear a mask to protect themselves and others, so who knows how (or if) it will work.

emtb2rn, BSN, RN, EMT-B

Specializes in Emergency.

Will get mine as soon as available. Also watching Australia. Generally as they go, so do we.

Getting my flu shot as always this year-but ASAP-not waiting for my employer-that almost landed me strip to the ER last year-O2 sats low 80s and I was working to get that oxygen-my lungs were TIRED-I also saw what happens when we can no longer compensate in patients-it’s a code. Doc treated me In his office with IMs and gave me lender nebulizer to take home until I could get one through insurance- I will never wait again. It also gave me a reality check on COVID19-if the flu can go this bad in 3 days-what will COVID do?

I have gotten the flu shot since I was pregnant with my daughter. At that time I was healthy with no known pre-existing conditions. It ha been about 50% effective. I say this because I now have lung problems and I get the dreaded swab when I get the tell tale cough I only get with the flu (or maybe now with COVID19-hope to no find out) and it’s always positive when I go in. I know my body and so do a lot of patients. If they tell you they think it’s something because they’ve been there before-it’s worth trusting them and checking because often times- they are right.

regardless of it’s hx of about 50% effectiveness-get your flu shot. It will not give you the flu. If you get sick-you had a stain that it didn’t cover or it didn’t work- but at least try to protect yourself and others. People are worried they have Covid now with a sore throat-do we not get the common cold anymore?

Kitiger, RN

Specializes in Private Duty Pediatrics.

On 8/19/2020 at 8:31 PM, Kitiger said:

I got my flu shot yesterday. It's a little early, but I didn't want to have to deal with shortages, later in the season.

My client tried to make an appointment at his doctor's to get the flu shot next week, but was told they don't have it yet. "Try again in the middle of September."

OUxPhys, BSN, RN

Specializes in Cardiology.

Not sure yet tbh. If we have to wear masks still what is the point?

On 8/21/2020 at 7:22 PM, Kitiger said:

My client tried to make an appointment at his doctor's to get the flu shot next week, but was told they don't have it yet. "Try again in the middle of September."

I'm not sure why everyone tries to make appts for influenza injections? There are flu clinics and you can walk into a pharmacy for an injection. The pharmacies are stocked!

Edited by 2BS Nurse

Kitiger, RN

Specializes in Private Duty Pediatrics.

5 hours ago, 2BS Nurse said:

I'm not sure why everyone tries to make appts for influenza injections? There are flu clinics and you can walk into a pharmacy for an injection. The pharmacies are stocked!

I got mine at Walgreen Pharmacy.

My client is very high risk, and only goes out when necessary, only for doctor appointments.

Is it true that we try to keep COVID patients dry, while flu patients need extra fluids? (Sorry, I switched my focus, but the site merged my comments.)

10 hours ago, 2BS Nurse said:

I'm not sure why everyone tries to make appts for influenza injections?

Preference of receiving health care from their PCP/office.

I have no choice but to get a flu shot or join the unemployment line but probably many more people will actively choose to get flu shots his year. With widespread mask wearing and social distancing requirements I view the 2020-2021 flu season as a proxy for the effectiveness of Covid prevention measures since both diseases spread in a similar fashion.

If rates of flu infection are significantly down from previous years then we know that the social distancing, mask wearing etc was probably worth the disruption to people's jobs, schooling, businesses etc.

If flu rates are similar or only slightly down then we know that countries like Sweden which did not quarantine and shutdown the economy responded wisely.😉

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