ROCK ISLAND, Ill — Flu season is quickly approaching and experts fear another respiratory illness.
"We do not have a vaccine or an effective treatment for COVID-19, but we do have one that's tried and true for the flu," said Janet Hill from the Rock Island County Health Department.
On top of the pandemic, the flu could overburden the health care system, strain testing capacity, and increase the risk of catching both diseases at once.
"If we have a bad flu season, along with COVID-19, that our health care delivery system will be overwhelmed," says Janet.
Health care workers say its vital anyone six-months and older get a flu shot. COVID-19 and serious cases of influenza use the same health care resources. "They use the same specialized care units and staff and ventilators."
Unlike COVID-19, the flu is a familiar foe, with an effective vaccine available. Janet says the flu and COVID-19 are two very different viruses, "So if you get a flu shot for several different strains of viruses, it does nothing for COVID-19."
The state of Illinois has reached a milestone, surpassing five million COVID-19 cases. Governor J.B. Pritzker says testing is a critical step in reducing the spread of the virus, "For families businesses, schools and churches, that means there is a measure of safety here that doesn't exist most other states."
The message from the professionals...
"This year, above all others, it's really important for people to get their flu shot."