Flu increases risk of dying from Covid-19: DAK

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Srinagar: Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) on Sunday said people can catch flu and Covid-19 at the same time this winter which increases the chances of death.

“Having flu and Covid-19 together puts you at significantly increased risk of dying,” said DAK President and influenza expert Dr Nisar ul Hassan.

“According to a study carried out in United Kingdom during the early phase of pandemic, people infected with both viruses were 2.27 times more likely to die than those with Covid-19 alone and 5.92 times more likely to die than those without any of the infection,” he said

“The researchers involved in the study analysed data on almost 20,000 people who were tested for both Covid and influenza. A total of 58 of those tested were positive for both viruses. 43 percent of those with co-infection died, compared with 27 percent of those who only had the coronavirus.”

Dr Nisar said getting infected even with one infection makes you more vulnerable to getting sick with the other.

“If you contract flu, your defenses go down, and you are at a higher risk of getting severe Covid-19 infection and that increases your risk of ending up in ICU or on a ventilator,” he said.

“Symptoms of flu and Covid-19 are pretty similar. So it is difficult to distinguish the two.”

“The best way to know if you have the novel coronavirus or the flu is to get tested for both viruses,” Dr Nisar said.

“We can’t be complacent about flu which can alone cause lot of trouble and with Covid-19 still raging, two together can wreak havoc,” he said.

“That makes this year’s flu vaccine vitally important. Influenza vaccine will not only protect you from flu, but it will also offer some protection against Covid-19 infection.”

“It is never too late to get your flu shot. If you haven’t got yourself vaccinated yet, go and get it now. Vaccination should continue to be offered throughout the flu season which begins in October and can last as late as May.

People should continue to follow Covid-19 precautions that will also help guard against flu,” said Dr Nisar.

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