SHREVEPORT, La. -- As COVID-19 continues to hover over the U.S., refusing to go away, flu season is now around the corner.

While COVID-19 and the flu are both viruses, they can affect the body in slightly different ways. Both are typically accompanied by a fever. A fever with the flu can go quite high, but a COVID-19 fever seems to stay around the 100 degree mark and packs quite a punch, causing severe fatigue, chills and major discomfort.

Also, coughing is a symptom of both, but a cough associated with the flu is typically wet and phlegmy. A dry cough may point toward a COVID-19 diagnosis.

And one telltale sign of COVID-19 is the loss of taste and smell.

Dr. John Vanchiere, professor of pediatrics and infectious disease at LSU Health Shreveport, stresses that now, more than ever, people should get a flu shot. Particularly if they are around children.

“For flu, we know that young kids are the super spreaders. They're the ones with tons of virus that spread it to all the rest of us,” Vanchiere said. “So we want to be really emphasizing flu vaccine, especially in kids so that we can, again, save lives, but also reduce the burden on our hospitals and our public health system that has to deal with very critically ill patients.”

With COVID-19 continuing to spread and flu season around the corner, the question becomes, can a person catch COVID-19 and the flu at the same time?

“Can patients get both flu and COVID? Yes, they can,” Vanchiere said. “And whether that's a worse disease, or one or the other, we don't really fully understand yet. But there's good reason to think that the combination is not going to be a good one. And so we want to avoid that as much as possible.”

Getting a flu shot will not only help individuals to fight off the illness, but will also assist in decreasing the strain on hospitals.

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