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Health Matters: Protecting yourself against COVID and the flu

Getting both the flu shot and the COVID vaccine reduce your chances of going to the hospital should you get sick.

HOUSTON — As we approach the school year and fall months, healthcare workers are worried about a possible "twindemic." Hospitals could be filled with both COVID-19 and flu patients.

“This year is particularly important. We are living a COVID surge. We are living another surge of another virus called RSV,” Dr. Luis Ostrosky, an infectious disease doctor with UT Physicians, said. “The very last thing we need is a flu surge.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said because of COVID precautions, last year’s flu season was unusually low.

People were staying home, washing their hands often, wearing masks and limiting travel.

But now, as COVID precautions ease - and the delta variant spreads – healthcare workers worry, hospitals will be stretched to the limit.

It’s why Ostrosky is urging people to get a COVID vaccine as soon as possible and the flu shot in the fall.

“I feel October is the ideal time to get the flu shot because you want to make sure you are protected through the winter,” he said.

According to the CDC, you can get both the COVID vaccine and other vaccines at the same time. The COVID vaccine is recommended for anyone 12 years and older Anyone 6 months and older can get a flu shot, which is updated every year.

Ostrosky said both are needed to reduce your chances of going to the hospital.

“Unfortunately, the flu shot does not protect you against COVID at all, but it could protect you from having both at the same time, which would be extra devastating,” he said.