Can You Get COVID-19 & the Flu at the Same Time?

October 6, 2020

October means pumpkins, cooler weather, candy corn… and the flu. And this October, flu season is further complicated by the COVID-19 pandemic. While getting a flu shot is the best way to stave off the potential of getting influenza—all of our facilities at PhysicianOne Urgent Care offer the flu vaccine, and you can stop by any day of the week for it!—you may be worried about the likelihood of getting COVID-19 and the flu at the same time. Is that even possible?

Unfortunately, it is. That’s because, while both COVID-19 and the flu are respiratory viruses, they are different types of viruses. COVID-19 is caused by a novel coronavirus called severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) while the flu is caused by the influenza virus. Each virus uses different cell receptors to get into the body, meaning that COVID-19 could enter one way and the flu could enter another way, effectively infecting you with both viruses at the same time.

What Happens if I’m Infected With Both Viruses?

A double infection of COVID-19 and the flu could mean that your symptoms are more severe—or it may not. There haven’t been enough cases of people with both COVID-19 and the flu to study the effects that a double infection could have on the body. Now that flu season is in full swing, though, there may be more cases of this double infection for scientists to study and discover how it affects one’s overall health.

For healthy individuals who are not high risk, it’s likely that you will simply feel like you have a bad case of the flu. The symptoms of the flu and COVID-19 are nearly identical, so you may experience:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Fatigue
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Body aches
  • Headache

Can I Be Tested for Both Viruses at the Same Time?

Another reason that there haven’t been enough studies about the effects of having COVID-19 and the flu at the same time is that, in many instances, individuals aren’t being tested for both. If someone receives a positive test for COVID-19, they likely won’t request a flu test as well—or vice versa.

At PhysicianOne Urgent Care, we provide testing for both COVID-19 and the flu. If you would like to receive tests for both viruses, we can certainly arrange that for you. We offer the rapid flu test with results ready within 15 minutes. The results of your COVID-19 test should be ready within a week. (We also offer rapid COVID-19 testing at select locations in Massachusetts and Connecticut, although these tests are for asymptomatic patients only.)

Schedule a Virtual Visit

If you are feeling under the weather and are worried that your symptoms are related to the flu and/or COVID-19, schedule a virtual visit with PhysicianOne Urgent Care today. We offer prompt appointments seven days per week and the provider you speak with can arrange the testing you need, if deemed appropriate.

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Throughout the visit I felt like the staff really cared. The doctor took his time talking with me about my symptoms, and I felt like he listened to all my concerns and took that into consideration when recommending the right treatment. Thank you!
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