Health

How to Fight the Two: COVID-19 and Influenza

flu vaccine
A flu shot is recommended for everyone 6 months and older.

The novel coronavirus and influenza may be different viruses, but they can be fought in many of the same ways.

The primary difference is there is a vaccine available now to protect you against the flu, while we wait for one to arrive for COVID-19.

Today, with influenza season on its way, County health officials are encouraging San Diegans to get vaccinated to prevent getting the flu.

“Influenza and COVID-19 are both respiratory illnesses. You must do all you can to prevent getting both at the same time,” said Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., County public health officer. “Get a flu shot now and continue taking the recommended precautions that work at preventing both viruses.”

Where to Get a Flu Shot

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone 6 months and older get a flu shot every year. It takes about two weeks for immunity to develop.

The influenza vaccine is now available at doctors’ offices and retail pharmacies and is covered by medical insurance. People with no health care coverage can get vaccinated at one of the County’s six public health centers or a local community clinic. To find the nearest location, visit www.sdiz.org or call 211 San Diego.

“The influenza vaccine is safe and effective,” Wooten said. “Get vaccinated now so that you can get protected when influenza begins to spread.”

A County employee gets a flu shot
A County employee gets a flu shot.

Tips to Prevent the Flu and COVID-19

The novel coronavirus and influenza are both spread from person to person, especially indoors and in crowded places.

Here are some tips to help you prevent COVID-19 and the flu:

  • Wash your hands properly and regularly or use a hand sanitizer.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, throw it away and wash your hands.
  • If you’re sick, stay home and isolate yourself from others.
  • Use a face covering when in public and close to others. They prevent spreading germs and viruses.
  • Maintain physical distance from others.
  • Avoid crowded places to decrease your risk of exposure.

Last season, a total of 20,711 lab-confirmed flu cases were reported in the region and 108 San Diegans died from complications from influenza.

Through Sept. 30, a total of 47,180 COVId-19 cases have been reported in San Diego County, including 783 deaths.

For more information about influenza and COVID-19 is available at www.sdiz.org and www.coronavirus-sd.com, respectively.

José A. Álvarez is a communications specialist with the County of San Diego Communications Office. Contact