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Wisconsin doctors worry about flu, COVID, and a combination of the two

Dr. Raul Mendoza, of AdvocateAuroraHealth speaks to the news media Monday.
Screenshot taken by Chuck Quirmbach
Dr. Raul Mendoza of Advocate Aurora Health speaks to the news media Monday.

Doctors who have been warning people about COVID-19 have expanded their concerns to influenza, commonly known as the flu.

State of Wisconsin figures show the number of flu cases has been rising. The same goes for COVID-19. Pulmonologist, or lung expert, Raul Mendoza of Advocate Aurora Health in Green Bay said Monday it's possible to get both COVID-19 and a more common flu virus.

"We have a patient who has a double infection. She's in the hospital. She has both influenza and COVID-19, and of course, that's not good news," Mendoza told news reporters.

Mendoza said the exact effect on anyone depends on that individual.

"If the patient has underlying chronic illness, underlying immune suppression, the symptoms could be more severe," Mendoza said.

Immune suppression means the body's disease and virus-fighting immune system isn't working properly. Long-term health problems can cause that, but so can short-term changes like not getting enough sleep.

Mendoza suggests getting both the flu vaccine and the COVID-19 vaccine or, if eligible, the COVID-19 booster.

Only about half of Wisconsin adults typically get a flu shot. The state said 62% of Wisconsin residents authorized to do so had received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

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