Can you Get the Flu and COVID-19 at the Same Time?

The possibility of having the flu and COVID-19 occurring has been a concern that has earned some traction since the virus began its spread. This is a valid concern among many, and while rare, it is possible to become infected by both at the same time. As October begins, flu season begins as well and brings a myriad of concerns as people try their best to avoid getting sick. With the COVID-19 pandemic sweeping the globe, it is now much harder to avoid getting sick. 

Because both the flu and COVID-19 are two different viruses, it is entirely possible to become infected with both at the same time. Both of the viruses trigger different receptors in order to enter the body, meaning both of them are entering through different channels and infecting you at the same time. 

A double infection has the possibility of causing more severe symptoms than just one infection alone, so it could feel like a very severe flu. Both COVID-19 and the flu also have almost identical symptoms, which include: fever, cough, fatigue, sore throat, runny nose or congestion, body and headaches. But there are also cases of asymptomatic COVID-19 infection and the flu occurring at the same time.

Unfortunately, there have not been many studies on those infected with both the flu and coronavirus due to the fact that, in the case that someone has been, they typically will only get tested for one, not both. 

“There have been reports of patients who have contracted both flu and COVID-19 at the same time, but we are not yet clear on how co-infection occurs, more evidence is needed before we can fully understand this, and how possible it is to contract both viruses at once.” Dr. Ravi Tomar from Portland Medical stated.

So, what do you do if you think you’ve been infected with both? First, in order to make sure you have or have not been double infected, get tested for both the flu and COVID-19. Then follow your usual guidelines for quarantining and preventative measures to ensure that you minimize the spread of infection. 

The best way to avoid getting infected is to get the flu shot and the COVID-19 vaccine, both of which can be taken at the same time. The best time to get the flu vaccine is right before flu season begins, around mid-September to October. Wearing a mask, proper hand washing hygiene and minimizing social interactions and social distancing are also ways you can be vigilant against both viruses.