Just over eight months into the COVID-19 pandemic and more than 207,000 people in America have lost their lives as a result of infection. However, coronavirus isn't the only serious and potentially life-threatening disease spreading around the country. Within the next month, cold and flu season will commence, and Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's leading infectious disease expert, warns that it can be just as deadly as COVID. Read on, and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus."It is a Serious Disease"During a news conference conducted by the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases, the director of National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and other leading health experts presented data and discussed the importance of getting the annual flu shot. "We cannot emphasize any more strongly the importance of what we're saying today about the benefits of influenza vaccine," urged Dr. Fauci. "In general, even if we were not in the middle of a COVID challenge, the influence of vaccinations are important to prevent infection and to modify infection when you get it.""It is a serious disease. It is not trivial," he warned about the annual flu, responsible for 12,000-61,000 deaths annually. "You superimpose that upon the challenge that we inevitably will face with COVID as we get into the fall and winter and go more indoors, which will be challenging for the prevention of a respiratory infection," he added.RELATED: I'm a Doctor and Here's How Not to Get Sick This FallHow to Avoid COVID-19 and the FluHis number one recommendation is to follow his fundamentals—mask wearing, social distancing, staying outdoors instead of indoors as much as possible, avoiding crowded places, practicing hand hygiene, and getting the flu shot. "Let's do what we can with the tools that we have," he encouraged, "and we have a good tool in an influenza vaccine." Earlier on, he explained exactly how the flu shot is effective in protecting against serious illness and death. "If you are vaccinated, you are less likely to get the flu. Namely, you're less likely to get infected," he explained, adding that "people don't appreciate some of the benefits of influenza vaccine."Next, "even if you do get sick, flu vaccination can reduce the severity and the duration of illness, and importantly can help to keep you out of the hospital," he added.Finally, he revealed a "secondary benefit," which is, "by getting vaccinated, you can prevent the spread of flu to those of you around you, who are at greatest risk of becoming seriously ill."As for yourself, no matter where you live, do everything you can to prevent getting—and spreading—COVID-19 in the first place: Get your flu shot, wear a face mask, get tested if you think you have coronavirus, avoid crowds (and bars, and house parties), practice social distancing, only run essential errands, wash your hands regularly, disinfect frequently touched surfaces, and to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.