AdventHealth doctors encourage people to get a flu shot

AdventHealth is preparing for the flu season during the coronavirus pandemic.

AdventHealth Dr. Tim Hendrix answered questions about the upcoming flu season Thursday. His main message: get a flu vaccine early.

“We have an opportunity now to get our flu shots to at least reduce the confusion as we get into flu season,” Dr. Hendrix said. “For you as a patient, you get your flu shot and you get a fever, you know it probably not the flu and more likely COVID.”

There is no vaccine for COVID-19 right now, but doctors believe flu shots will keep hospitals from getting overwhelmed with coronavirus and flu cases.

Dr. Hendrix said it is possible for a person to get COVID-19 and the flu at the same time.

RELATED: Health experts weigh in after CDC calls on states to prepare for vaccine distribution

In fact, he said, when the pandemic began, we were in flu season and doctors in Central Florida have treated people with both.

“People got through it okay, but having two different viruses is never a good thing…The risk of complications is higher with co-infection like that,” Dr. Hendrix said. “So, again, another good reason to get your flu shot.”

Dr. Hendrix said there are cases where people can get the flu after being vaccinated but says the flu shot will make symptoms less severe.

RELATED: Fauci warns coronavirus cases are 'unacceptably high' as Labor Day weekend approaches

The hospital system said it is ready to treat patients as flu season begins.

“We have both flu test and COVID-19 tests,” Dr. Hendrix said. “In 15 minutes we can differentiate what it is and get a good idea of if it is COVID-19 or the flu.”

AdventHealth Centra Care plans to start offering flu vaccines in a few weeks.