DeeDee Stiepan: Getting your annual flu vaccine is especially important this season.
Gregory Poland, M.D., Infectious Diseases, Mayo Clinic: Where we have COVID spreading, we will very likely have influenza spreading.
DeeDee Stiepan: The flu vaccine won't protect against COVID-19 but it can help reduce the chance of getting the flu.
Dr. Poland: The symptoms of COVID and influenza overlap almost exactly in their initial manifestations with the exception of the loss of smell, loss of taste. That would be very unusual in influenza.
DeeDee Stiepan: Getting a flu vaccine helps rule out influenza if you develop respiratory issues and helps reduce stress on the health care system.
Dr. Poland: Every American, age six months and older, get a flu vaccine. An opportunity we have in the context of this twindemic is not only to get our flu vaccines but to remember these non-pharmaceutical interventions: the mask wearing, physical distancing. While they prevent COVID, they also decrease the risk of influenza.
DeeDee Stiepan: For the Mayo Clinic News Network, I'm DeeDee Stiepan.