By Hank Tester

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Flu season is right around the corner.

Flu symptoms are similar to coronavirus and will present a medical challenge to those on the front line medical teams who know that like coronavirus, the flu can kill.

So health care professionals are urging everyone to get a flu shot this year.

“It is possible that people can get both COVID and influenza at the same time. We don’t know what that would look like. It is something you want to avoid,” said Dr. Mary Jo Trepka, the chair of the Department of Epidemiology at FIU.

“If you have a cough and fever and muscle aches we are going to worry it’s COVID. It could be the flu and it could be COVID, so it’s going to be a little struggle this year to sort those two out,” said Dr. Mike Rolfsen with the Baton Rouge Clinic.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention researchers say a flu vaccination can reduce the risk of a person contracting the flu by 40 to 60 percent.

“You can’t afford to have flu-like symptoms because if you do, you can’t go to work, you need to isolate yourself at home because you don’t know if it is flu or if it is COVID,” said Trepka.

Flu leads pneumonia is deaths. In 2019, more than 2,700 people died from it; 270 in Miami-Dade, 174 in Broward, and eight in Monroe County.

“Maybe we will have less flu if everyone does wear their mask, social distance, washing hands,” said Trepka.

Medical experts hope flu patients and coronavirus patients don’t combine to overwhelm hospitals.

“We don’t want to be needing to deal with influenza when the hospitals are full of people with COVID,” said Trepka.

To a flu shot provider in your area, go to vaccinefinder.org.

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