Another reason to keep flu numbers down is so hospitals can keep their capacities down so they can treat those who have worse flu or COVID-19 outcomes, he said.
He said coming down with influenza could potentially predispose someone to a more severe case of COVID-19. If someone had COVID-19 and got the flu, a person could have a worse outcome because of that, Colón said.
“So the impact of getting those two illnesses at the same time could make either or both of them worse for somebody,” Colón said.
He said the symptoms for the flu and COVID-19 are identical, except the loss of taste and smell are symptoms of COVID-19. Colón also said people should stay informed and stay updated with various changes that come out.
Colón said the recommended time to get a flu shot is in September and October, noting some doctors think the “sweet spot” is mid-October.
Jackie Phillips, Middletown Health Commissioner, said getting the annual flu shot is more important to get this year especially with the overlapping coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic still active.
“Some people are concerned that another respiratory illness might be worse this year,” she said. “We’re hoping public health mitigation (for COVID-19) will give us some help with flu season.”
Phillips urges everyone to get a flu vaccine and that there are plenty of places to get a flu shot.
According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, some people are at higher risk of developing serious flu-related complications if they get sick, such as people 65 years and older; people of any age with certain chronic medical conditions, such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease or who may be immunosuppressed; pregnant women; and children younger than 5 years.
Flu vaccines have been recently arriving in the area. Jason Briscoe, Discount Drug Mart director of pharmacy operations, said they have received flu vaccines at all locations, have been vaccinating patients.