ODESSA,Texas (Big 2 / Fox 24) – We are in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, and now another virus is threatening our health.
“This is the first time we are going to go through the flu season in the U.S with this virus around,” said Dr. Rohith Saravanan, Chief Medical Officer at Odessa Regional Medical Center.
With flu season beginning, Dr. Saravanan said it’s very important to get the flu vaccination this year. since COVID-19 and the flu are both respiratory viruses, getting a shot can prevent an overlap of virus outbreaks.
“The most alarming thing about this is if someone walks into a doctor’s office and says I have a cough I have congestion, I have cold symptoms, you don’t know which way you are going to classify,” Dr. Saravanan said. “Are you going to classify it as flu? Or are you going to classify it as COVID?”
According to Dr. Saravanan ,the biggest risk is not knowing how COVID-19 and the flu will interact. Val Sparks, Infection Preventionist at Midland Memorial Hospital hopes this will encourage more people to get their flu shot.
“Hopefully they won’t be hospitalized with both flu and COVID,” Sparks said. ” Because you can potentially have co-infections, and you could potentially have both diseases at the same time and that we defiantly want to avoid.”
Besides local hospitals, another place to get a flu shot is at local pharmacies , Larry Cordes with United Pharmacy in Midland said people have still been coming in to get their shots.
“We’ve done well over 100 so far we’ve averaged about 20 every morning that we had the drive through clinic which is Tuesdays and Thursdays,” Cordes said. “We’ve been getting about 20 people on those days but you can come inside anytime.”
And Cordes hopes more people will come in for there flu shots so everyone can stay healthy during this pandemic.
“That’s why we’re doing things like the drive through clinic,” Cordes said “We just want to get the flu shot into as many people as we can.”
Health experts say wearing a face mask will also help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Dr. Saravanan with ORMC said there will also be free clinics at the local health department in Ector County that will provide flu vaccinations.