SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) – While the weather hasn’t quite caught up yet, the first day of fall arrives Tuesday.
And with it come worries over a fierce flu season.
“The co-infection of flu and COVID is really concerning those in healthcare,” said Dr. Ranjani Kalyan, medical director of infectious diseases at Sutter Roseville Medical Center.
While COVID-19 hospitalizations are going down in Sacramento County, doctors with Sutter Health worry new flu cases could overwhelm hospital capacity.
They said they are also concerned over patients getting these two illnesses at the same time.
“I honestly don’t know if somebody would be able to survive that, with how much inflammation occurs in the body when you have both COVID and influenza. So, I really want to stress you definitely don’t want to get both,” said Dr. Vanessa Walker, a pulmonologist at Sutter Roseville Medical Center.
Doctors said they are hopeful that a mild flu season in the Southern Hemisphere signals good news for Californians.
They said many of the actions we’re already taking to guard against the coronavirus will help fend off the flu.
“If we continue to do the hand washing practices, the safe social distancing as well as the facial coverings, I’m really hopeful that we’ll minimize the risk of the flu and COVID,” Kalyan said.
Still, doctors told FOX40 the key to protecting yourself and those around you is to get the flu vaccine.
“People that get the vaccine have a better course. So, even if you do get the flu with the vaccine, you are going to have a little bit better chance at not getting so seriously sick,” Walker explained.
Sutter Health doctors also said that the wildfire smoke the region has been seeing in recent weeks increases the risk since smoke weakens the immune system.
As of Monday, the doctors said they are not concerned over running out of the vaccine and there are enough doses to go around.