SALT LAKE COUNTY (ABC4 News) – It’s stressed annually around this time, but this year there’s added importance in making sure you get your flu shot.
“We desperately need to make sure we don’t overuse our resources for healthcare and that we get individuals an influenza vaccine as a protective measure to mitigate the use of other services,” said Dr. Tamara Sheffield, Medical Director of Community Health and Prevention at Intermountain Healthcare.
The urgency centers around health officials efforts to manage rising Covid cases in the state.
On Tuesday, the Utah Department of Health reporting 2,517 news cases from Monday.
“We have people with influenza who have to go to the ICU,” said Dr. Sheffield.
Currently, the majority of ICU beds have patients battling Covid lying in them.
The recent update shows 435 people are currently hospitalized. That’s with 6,284 since the beginning of the pandemic.
“The higher our rates go for Covid and if we have to add influenza cases on top of that it could really impact individuals’ ability to get care,” explains Dr. Sheffield.
Symptoms for both viruses are similar which makes it difficult to tell which infection you may have.
There is also a chance you can have both at the same time, but the state’s top epidemiologist says that’s slim.
“It is really unlikely especially if you get your flu vaccine to have both at the same time,” said Dr. Angela Dunn.
There are combined tests for flu and Covid, but Utah currently doesn’t administer them. A person will have to be tested individually for each illness. Results typically take about two days to come back.