Adding the annual Influenza waves to continued COVID-19 concerns has medical officials urging the public to get a flu shot as soon as possible.

The vaccine is readily available at Mid Coast Health System.

“If you don’t take the flu vaccine every year, then I encourage you to make this year an exception given that COVID-19 is still hanging around,” Mid Coast Medical Clinic Dr. Thai Huynh said.

“If you are unlucky enough to have both flu and COVID-19 at same time, and you have medical issues already, then there is a good chance that your health will deteriorate rapidly,” he said. “Just get it.”

Both Influenza and COVID-19 are contagious respiratory illnesses, but they are caused by different viruses, and have similar symptoms.

It takes medical testing to tell the difference, according to the CDC.

Washing hands is a tried and true way to keep germs, illnesses and any other issues spread by touch away.

Covering ones mouth when coughing or sneezing – and preferably not with a hand, which is going to be used to touch something or someone – is another simple step.

“And Lysol? They are not lying. It kills 99 percent (of germs) instantly,” MCMC Dr. Gene Burns said.

People who become ill should stay home rather than follow their normal routines of work and/or school.

“Flu is highly contagious. We don’t want people spreading it around,” Burns said, but added seeking medical advice is a good idea.

A case of the flu usually comes on quickly with a high fever, body aches, chills, a dry cough, sore throat, runny nose, headaches and extreme fatigue. Symptoms can last a week or longer.

Vaccines are offered by Mid Coast Medical Clinic as well as both grocery stores in El Campo and some pharmacies.

Mid Coast Medical Clinic, 303 Sandy Corner Road, also offers drive-by flu shots for $25 for most people over the age of 12. There is no charge for traditional Medicare patients who have their red, white and blue card with them.

The drive-by is open 9 to 11 a.m. Monday through Friday, 2 to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 2 to 3 p.m. Friday.

The Texas Department of State Health Services encourages everyone six months old and older to get vaccinated now to protect themselves from getting the flu.

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