LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – Officials at Sparrow are encouraging people to be on the watch for potential COVID-flu co-infections. As the number of COVID-19 infections in the state continues to fall, health officials say new variants are emerging.

Doctors like Sparrow Health System Chief Clinical Officer Paul Entler want the message to be clear, don’t let your ‘COVID guard’ down during the flu season, even if you’re experiencing ‘COVID-fatigue.’

“You know, the hard thing is, everyone’s tired,” Entler said. “Not just healthcare workers, but everyone’s tired of the pandemic. I’m tired of the pandemic but it’s still around us.”

Entler said, the numbers for COVID are pretty stable right now, but he wants to remind everyone to continue the fight.

“There’s enough natural immunity where we’re not seeing some of the surges that we saw before, but it’s still there and there are other variants out there, but we’re much more sophisticated in the analytics we’re using to prepare,” he said.

It’s these analytics that suggests this flu season won’t be too kind.

“We look at predictions from the southern hemisphere, they had a fairly significant flu season this year so we’re expecting the same, hence we’re strongly advocating for the flu shot in addition to the COVID booster,” he said.

He adds that the flu has been around for quite some time and there are flu-related deaths every year. Especially with people who have underlying conditions. And this year could be even more significant with the risk for COVID and flu co-infections.

“So, if you get the flu and COVID at the same time, they’re both viruses, they act a little bit different you could get severely ill from it and potentially die. So again, anything that we can do to prevent either of these through a vaccination is highly recommended,” Entler said.

He includes that it’s important to get the dose at the right time.

“You want to try and time it when you’re going to see the peak flu season about six to eight weeks, ten weeks after to get the most immunity,” he said.

Officials also said September or October are the best months to get your doses and if you haven’t already, now is the time.