This fall season brings with it unique health challenges as the flu starts to circulate while the COVID-19 pandemic continues. Right now, it’s more important than ever to protect yourself from these viruses and safeguard the health of those around you.
Since viruses temporarily weaken your immunity, catching a cold or the flu can make you more vulnerable to contracting COVID-19. Plus, catching both the flu and coronavirus at the same time could worsen your symptoms.
Over 39 million people got sick with the influenza virus during the 2019–2020 flu season. Influenza is also incredibly dangerous for at-risk individuals and is one of the most common causes of deaths among the elderly.
As more people get the flu shot, there’ll be fewer flu cases, reducing the potential for transmission of COVID-19.
What Do the Experts Recommend?
Both the Centers for Disease Control and the American Academy of Pediatrics urge anyone older than six months of age and those who don’t have contraindications for the immunization to get the flu shot.
Early vaccination is especially important this year during the COVID-19 pandemic, and flu shots are one of the most effective ways to protect against the influenza virus.
Protection from the flu will result in reduced trips to the doctor’s office, which essentially means reduced exposure to potentially infected (or asymptomatic) COVID-19 patients.
Additionally, with schools back in session for in-person instruction and local communities gradually reopening activities, experts encourage parents and kids alike to receive the flu shot from their primary healthcare provider, pharmacy, or urgent care.
Check out updated recommendations released by the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices for this flu season.
Flu And Coronavirus Symptoms: How Do You Tell Them Apart?
The symptoms of flu and COVID-19 can be similar because they’re both contagious respiratory illnesses caused by viruses. COVID-19 is caused by the new coronavirus (called SARS-CoV-2) and flu is caused by the influenza viruses.
While the flu and COVID-19 share many characteristics, some key differences between the two are that COVID-19 spreads more easily than the flu and has shown to cause more serious illnesses in patients.
Plus, with COVID-19, it can take longer for symptoms to show and the infected person may be contagious for longer.
Another important difference is that there’s currently no vaccine publicly available to prevent COVID-19, but there are vaccines that can prevent people from contracting the seasonal flu.
The best way to prevent COVID-19 infection is to avoid exposure to the virus with social distancing and hygienic practices. The CDC compares flu and COVID-19 in detail here.
COVID-19 symptoms can vary from one person to the next, so the best thing to do is to get in touch with your doctor if you come down with any kind of illness. Make sure to self-quarantine even if it’s the flu, until you know exactly what’s going on.
We also have a team of women’s health care specialists, weight loss specialists, SculpSure specialists, and senior care specialists at Natomas Family Practice.
Get in touch with our team to set up an appointment.