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Local doctors warn flu vaccine is imperative this fall as pandemic rolls on

Morning Rounds: Flu season
Posted at 11:56 AM, Aug 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-14 16:12:50-04

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. - The United States now has more than 5 million cases of coronavirus and more than 160,000 deaths. With flu season approaching, the director of the CDC warned this week the next few months could be grim.

“This could be the worst fall from a public health perspective we have ever had," said Dr. Robert Redfield.

Doctors urge now is the time to protect yourself.

"The problem we will have if is people don't get vaccinated and the vaccination rate doesn't go up, then we don't get herd immunity," said Dr. Ryan Light with Greenbrier Family Medicine. "Then, what we may see is coronavirus combined with the flu."

Light says less than 50% of Americans got the flu vaccine last year.

"The flu vaccine is recommended anyone from age of six months to end of life," he stated. "You should get flu vaccine every year, as it is going to prevent hospitalization."

Flu season typically starts in December. Its symptoms are similar to coronavirus, but look out for marked differences, says Light.

"Sometimes chest pain comes around with COVID-19 as well as a loss of taste or smell; you won't find that with the flu," said Light.

Light also said the flu comes on within one to two days of contact, whereas the coronavirus is more than two to 14 days.

The CDC stated Wednesday 10 million flu vaccines are at the ready.

"I am hoping with mask wearing and social distancing and hand hygiene that we won't see a big breakout of flu because these things we are doing with COVID work just as well with the flu."

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