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A Tale of Two Viruses: Fast Facts About COVID-19 and the Flu

As more people get vaccinated against COVID-19 and the risk of infection lessens, concerns remain about the return of a health threat we have come to expect every year: the flu.

The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and sometimes the lungs. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death.

Thanks to public health measures such as social distancing, improved hygiene habits, and mask-wearing, the 2020–2021 flu season slowed to remarkably low levels. The United States recorded about 6,000 deaths from influenza last season compared to 22,000 deaths the year before.

Flu season runs from October through May. Health experts agree that the best way of preventing flu is by getting a flu vaccine each year.

Because each year’s flu vaccine is based on strains that circulated the previous year, health officials are not sure how the 2021–2022 flu vaccine will perform since it is based on far fewer cases than in a common year.

Conversely with fewer flu virus particles circulating, experts believe there is less chance of an upcoming mutation, so it is possible this season’s vaccine will prove extra effective. That is, if people choose to get it.

Each year, just under half the population gets a flu vaccine, even though the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends an annual flu shot for almost everyone over the age of 6 months. 

According to CDC, the following people are at high risk for developing influenza-related complications: 

  • Children younger than 5, but especially children younger than 2 years old
  • Adults 65 years of age and older
  • Pregnant women (and women up to two weeks postpartum)
  • Residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities
  • Also, American Indians and Alaskan Natives seem to be at higher risk of influenza complications

People who have the following medical conditions are also at high risk for the flu: 

  • Asthma 
  • Neurological and neuro-developmental conditions [including disorders of the brain, spinal cord, peripheral nerve, and muscle such as cerebral palsy, epilepsy (seizure disorders), stroke, intellectual disability (mental retardation), moderate to severe developmental delay, muscular dystrophy, or spinal cord injury]
  • Chronic lung disease (such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease [COPD] and cystic fibrosis) 
  • Heart disease (such as congenital heart disease, congestive heart failure, and coronary artery disease) 
  • Blood disorders (such as sickle cell disease) 
  • Endocrine disorders (such as diabetes mellitus) 
  • Kidney disorders 
  • Liver disorders 
  • Metabolic disorders (such as inherited metabolic disorders and mitochondrial disorders) 
  • Weakened immune system due to disease or medication (such as people with HIV or AIDS, or cancer, or those on chronic steroids) 
  • People younger than 19 years of age who are receiving long-term aspirin therapy
  • People who are morbidly obese (Body Mass Index of 40 or greater) 

Taking preventative measures against the flu will be important now that we still continue to contend with COVID-19. Even though there is a vaccine for COVID-19, experts still don’t know how long it will provide protection or when a booster will be needed.

Double Threat 

Did you know it is possible to get sick with both the flu and COVID-19 at the same time? Although both viruses are spread through droplets from an infected person and share similar symptoms, they use different receptors on our cells once inside the body. This allows for a double infection in the same person.

The flu and COVID-19 are both contagious respiratory illnesses that share many of the same signs and symptoms such as dry cough, fever, and shortness of breath. Some of the distinct differences include: 

  • A loss of smell and taste is a symptom connected to COVID-19 and is considered rare among flu sufferers.
  • Nasal congestion and a runny nose are symptoms associated with the flu not seen in COVID-19 patients.
  • Flu symptoms come on rapidly, whereas symptoms for COVID-19 can take upwards of 14 days to appear.

It is important to know which virus is at play when feeling sick. Many of the mass testing locations across the country have been shut down. Any Lab Test Now® remains one of the testing locations people can turn to in order to find out if they are possibly dealing with a COVID-19 infection or the flu. Come in for a Comprehensive Metabolic Panel, which is an all-around test typically included in an annual physical exam. As the world reopens and students head back to school, the lasting effects of COVID-19 are unknown. This general test can provide some insight regarding your overall health. 

Be at Ease 

Any Lab Test Now wants you to be at ease when it comes to seeking out any type of lab work.

We provide you a safe and clean alternative location for lab work. Each of our 190+ stores is sanitized several times a day, in accordance with the CDC’s protocols. Any Lab Test Now is a committed partner in helping you manage your family’s healthcare so you can make educated decisions that will directly affect your quality of life. We want to put you at ease during the coronavirus pandemic. We are here to help.

For more information about Any Lab Test Now, and the tests we offer, visit us at

Defend Yourself Against the Flu

Did you know the CDC reported that in a 30-year period, deaths affiliated to the flu in the United States alone range from 3,000 to 49,000 people? Flu season is here and now the battle to prevent getting the virus begins. It is safe to say that getting the flu is no picnic. You will get most of the symptoms of the common cold such as body aches, sore throat and a cough with an additional high fever and the feeling that your runny nose should be in intensive care.

It is important to note that anyone regardless of their age can get infected with the flu. However, age does play a part in the period of contagiousness. A healthy adult may infect others from one day before developing symptoms up to 5 to 7 days after becoming ill. Children, as well as those with weakened immune systems, have the ability of infecting others for a period longer than a week.

Since most cases of the flu take place during the months of October through May; now is the time to act and make sure you and the ones you love are protected. Getting your flu shot as soon as it is available not only protects you from being stuck in bed for a week but it also prevents you from potentially infecting others.

ANY LAB TEST NOW® can be your ally.  Take 5 minutes to stop by for the shot that will help keep you and your loved ones protected from the virus. The shot is not available at all ANY LAB TEST NOW® locations. For more information on where the flu shot is available near you visit