Flu, pneumonia vaccines a good idea even though they don't ward off COVID-19
Updated as of Tuesday, March 24, 2020 10:40 PM
Symptoms of the COVID-19 coronavirus can be very similar to the common cold, or influenza and other respiratory ailments.
Truth be told, someone can contract more than one infectious disease, health officials said.
“There’s no one-disease-per-person rule,” said Yavapai County Community Health Services Epidemiologist Stephen Everett in an email message on Monday. “It’s entirely possible to be infected with COVID-19, flu and many other diseases, simultaneously.”
Not to add to people’s fright, but rather to keep them healthy, Everett and other health leaders still encourage vaccinations against the annual strain of flu and pneumonia that can further compromise people’s health. The Community Health Services is making those vaccinations available for those who need it, including infants and senior citizens, Everett said.
Some private pharmacies continue to offer such vaccines, and primary care providers continue to refer patients to area labs if they have yet to obtain such vaccines.
In this time of uncertainty, Everett and other health professionals advise people of all ages to do what they can to social distance even as they strive to stay healthy by eating nutritious meals, staying hydrated, continuing a daily exercise regimen and getting plenty of rest.
Though routine annual vaccinations against the latest strain of flu, or the longer-lasting pneumonia vaccines, are NOT a prevention against the novel coronavirus pandemic, Everett was clear “they can help protect a patient from co-infections and opportunistic infections.”
“Opportunistic infections take advantage of a person already fighting off an infection,” Everett said. “This is especially dangerous to people with weakened immune systems like the elderly, cancer patients and even people who are fatigued or malnourished.”
Follow Nanci Hutson on Twitter @HutsonNanci. Reach her at 928-445-3333 ext. 2041.
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