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This year's flu season could bring a double punch

Getting a flu shot this year could not only protect you from the flu but could help reduce the strain on healthcare systems responding to COVID-19

MACON, Ga. — If you've never gotten a flu shot before, the Centers for Disease Control says this is the year to do it.

Getting a flu shot this year could not only protect you and your loved ones from the flu, but could also help reduce the strain on healthcare systems responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"The flu still has its own fatality rate. People may not have understood how dangerous it is. It kills on average 60- 70,000 patients a year," says
Dr. Gary Godlewski, an emergency room physician at Coliseum Northside Hospital.

The flu preys on the weak, elderly, and people with lung disease, a lot like the coronavirus does, so doctors like Godlewski will have two battles to fight as we head into fall.

"It's going to be tough. We do have a few things that may lean towards COVID versus the regular flu, but still an ache, a fever, a cough, congestion will be common to both, so differentiating between the two will be more aggressive testing.

The CDC recommends you get a flu vaccine by the end of October. Many doctor's offices, clinics, health departments, pharmacies and some employers offer the flu vaccine every year. According to the CDC, most of the time, flu activity peaks between December and February, although activity can last as late as May.