Co-Existing with the Flu and COVID-19

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Another year has gone by, temperatures are dropping, and we are once again ready to witness the beautiful fall foliage.

But this view is accompanied by the harsh realities of our 2021: the beginning of flu season, as well as the continued presence of COVID-19. To add onto this, the symptoms of having COVID and the flu can be quite similar, making it difficult to know if people around you have one or the other.

Though fear not – we are ready to share some best practices for how to get through these everchanging and confusing times.

Similarities Between the Flu and COVID-19

How It Spreads:

COVID-19 and the flu can both be spread from person-to-person between those who are near each other, within about 6 feet. Particles containing the virus can be spread by those infected when they talk, cough, or sneeze, which is why it is often recommended for people to keep a safe distance if they are around those who are showing symptoms or are ill. Inhalation of these particles into the lungs or landing in the mouths or noses of people cause further infections to spread.


According to the CDC, common symptoms these two viruses share include:

  • Fever or feeling feverish/having chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue (tiredness)
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle pain or body aches
  • Headache
  • Vomiting and diarrhea

Differences Between the Flu and COVID-19


Though there are overlaps between the two, they are not the same:

  • COVID-19 is caused by the 2019 novel coronavirus that is known as SARS-CoV-2.
  • The flu is caused by the influenza virus.



  • Some people may be asymptomatic, meaning they do not feel sick or symptoms. But, they can still transmit the virus to others.
  • Those who have contracted COVID-19 can experience:
    • Loss of smell and taste
    • Difficulty breathing
    • Lower blood oxygen levels
  • Symptoms may develop two to 14 days after infection.


  • People will usually not lose their sense of taste or smell, but otherwise experience many of the symptoms as outlined above.
  • Symptoms may develop one to four days after infection.

Stay Safe - Get Vaccinated and Tested!

Stay safe and take the necessary precautions to limit the possibility of contracting either of the viruses! The most accurate way to understand your situation is to get tested and confirm the diagnosis first.

Free testing sites are available across the nation, which you may find here. However, the flu shot does not prevent you from getting COVID-19, and vice versa.

There are already multiple FDA-licensed influenza vaccines distributed annually by scientists to prevent the mass circulation of flu viruses each year. Over the past year, three major COVID-19 vaccines in the U.S. have also been authorized for use by the FDA under an Emergency Use Authorization permit: Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson / Janssen.

A booster vaccine for COVID-19 is also slowly rolling out for certain people who are eligible.

Locations and Average Pricing of Flu Shots

Getting a flu shot is rather accessible. They are widely available at pharmacies, community healthcare clinics, doctor’s offices, and more. See below a few locations:

CVS: ~$40

Walmart: ~$35

Walgreens: ~$40

Costco: ~$20


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