As California's health care system deals with handling the coronavirus pandemic, experts want the public to start planning early for the flu shot.
Kaiser Permanente family doctor Dr. Irma Covarrubias-Lugo said it is now more important than ever to protect yourself against the flu.
“When you come down with an illness like influenza, your defenses are down, so you’re more prone to get other types of infections, AKA coronavirus,” said Covarrubias-Lugo.
Flu season typically peaks between December and February, but sometimes it can begin as early as October, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“A lot of places will be doing walk-up outdoor influenza shots. The other thing is drive-up influenza shots,” said Covarrubias-Lugo.
There's also concern about people having the flu and the coronavirus at the same time. They share many of the same (not all) symptoms like fever, chills, colds, sore throat and body aches.
"We really don’t know [what it will be like] but it definitely is possible and that’s why it’s very helpful to follow our health official's orders,” said Covarrubias-Lugo.
The Federal Drug Administration has a final say on the makeup of the flu vaccine, and it’s generally ready for people by the end of September. Even though it’s not always completely effective against every strain, the goal is to have fewer flu cases that can add a burden on an already overwhelmed health care system.
“Hygiene, hand-washing, 6 feet social distancing and the facial coverings. I think if we do our part, we hope that maybe this year the influenza season will be much less by preventing the virus,” said Covarrubias-Lugo.