Health officials are anticipating a difficult winter due to the overlap of COVID-19 and seasonal influenza. Your best defense: a flu shot. 

“Flu will hit our community soon, and in the midst of the ongoing pandemic, getting the flu vaccine will be more important than ever,” said Dr. Penny Borenstein, San Luis Obispo County Health Officer, in a press release.

The concept of a “twindemic” has been addressed by epidemiologists nationwide and had the potential to create major setbacks in the United States’ coronavirus recovery. 

The on-campus health center is offering free flu shots today, Oct. 7, from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. and then from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m in the lower level of building 27, according to a post on the health center’s Instagram account.

After receiving the vaccination it can take a few weeks for the body to build up immunity. Officials recommend all residents receive a flu shot in the months of September and October. In California, flu spread tends to increase from late November to December. 

Since fever, cough and chills apply to both coronavirus and the seasonal flu, those showing flu symptoms will likely be tested for COVID-19. 

A clinic held by Health Services on Wednesday saw many students who were eager to slow the spread.

“It’s a really simple thing to do to show others that you care. Nobody wants to be sick so why not take all the precautions you can,” liberal studies junior Alexis Van Howe said.

Preventing the spread of the flu is a crucial step to avoid overwhelming medical resources needed for treating coronavirus. Similar to COVID-19, vaccination of healthy individuals will also protect immunocompromised individuals from becoming sick.

Those at severe flu risk include people who smoke or have underlying medical conditions, those older than of 65-years-old, children younger than five-years-old and pregnant women. 

Flu vaccination is covered by most insurance and is provided at no charge to students at the campus health center during regular hours of operation. San Luis Obispo residents can also receive a vaccination from many local pharmacies or at Public Health Department clinics by appointment. 

Residents are encouraged to prevent the spread of germs every day by frequent hand washing, social distancing, wearing a cloth face covering when out in public and staying home when sick.  

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