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Health officials share preventive ways from catching both the flu and COVID-19

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Local health officials say they’ve administered 90% of flu vaccines at this time last year.

Which they say is a good sign as they’ve been encouraging people to do so.

Flu season is upon us and as research shows you can catch it and COVID at the same time.

But, one expert says there are some ways to help prevent this from happening.

“A lot of things that we already have in place as a means of preventing COVID will also help with respiratory illnesses like the flu,” Lacy Phillips the Executive Director of Quality and Patient Safety at Mercy Health said.

Phillips says this includes things like maintaining social distance, washing your hands frequently and wearing a mask.

She says nutrition also matters.

“Maintaining a healthy diet those all will factor into your ability to combat a virus should you contract one,” Phillips said.

Phillips says people are taking their recommendation to get a flu shot to heart.

“We’re getting a steady stream of supplies weekly to make sure we can continue to meet the needs of our community,” Phillips said.

This is important as research shows contracting both the flu and COVID simultaneously can have serious long-term effects on the body.

“They will weaken your immune system and given that that virus is also a respiratory virus there’s some great concern for a worsening of those symptoms that we’re already seeing with COVID,” Phillips said.

Both the flu and COVID-19 can give you a fever, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, sore throat, body aches and a runny or stuffy nose.

The CDC says the best way to know if you have the coronavirus, the flu, or both is to get tested.

Phillips recommends finding a primary care physician before you get sick, so you can be prepared if and when you need to seek out services.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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