Local medical experts warn of potential “twindemic”

Health leaders strongly encourage people to get flu shots to avoid significant spread of the flu and coronavirus at the same time

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) – We can say that we were pretty lucky that the coronavirus pandemic began after the flu season peaked in the La Crosse area.

But it’s that time of year again where the flu starts to spread quickly.

“We say, our flu shot clinics are opening,” Bridget Pfaff says, who is on the infection control team at Gundersen Health System.

When flu shot clinics open, it means you should probably get vaccinated.

“And people say, ‘oh, that’s not going to be me,'” Pfaff said. “And about 40 percent of people in the United States get their flu shot.”

But this year, local medical experts have a strong word of advice for you.

“Getting our flu shot is more important than ever in 2020,” Pfaff said.

She says if not enough people get their flu vaccinations, it could lead to a “twindemic.”

“It’s a new word,” Pfaff said. “We’re trying to say, ‘OK, what does that mean?'”

It means the flu and the coronavirus going around at once.

“Having both viruses at the same time, do we know how the body will react? I don’t know,” Pfaff said.

Mayo Clinic Health System tells News 8 Now in a statement, “Amid concern over a “twin-demic” of influenza and COVID-19 this fall and winter, Mayo Clinic Health System is planning high-volume flu vaccine sites with the goal of immunizing as many area residents against the flu as possible before the end of November.”

Not taking-getting your flu shot seriously could cause fatal consequences to others you may not even know.

“The risk is more hospitalizations and potentially more deaths,” Pfaff said.

So to simply put it, even if you’re reluctant about getting a flu shot, experts are encouraging you to do so anyway.

“Each one of us has the power to help control the spread,” Pfaff said. “One of the ways to control the spread of influenza is getting your flu shot.”