The flu virus infects millions of people and hospitalizes hundreds of thousands each year. And with the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s even more important to protect against the flu. It is possible to contract both COVID-19 and the flu simultaneously, and recent studies show that up to 20% of people who test positive for coronavirus, also have the flu or other respiratory illnesses. The flu shot decreases the likelihood of getting these viruses together.
Sudershan Singh, MD, an infectious disease specialist at Woodland Clinic shared some insightful tips on the symptoms you should know, and preventative measures you can take to protect you and your family this flu season.
The seasonal flu and COVID-19 have similar symptoms, so it helps to know and understand the recommended associated treatment plans. Fever, chills, cough, congestion, shortness of breath, fatigue, headache, muscle and body aches, nausea and sore throat, are common symptoms in both respiratory viruses.
We continue to encourage our patients and communities to proactively protect themselves and their loved ones during flu season, as well as year-round. There are plenty of things one can do to help reduce their risk of contracting or spreading the flu (as well as COVID-19), including:
- Using your elbow to cover coughs and sneezes
- Washing your hands frequently and thoroughly for 20 seconds using warm water and soap
- Carrying hand sanitizer with you and using it frequently while in public
- Avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
- Wearing a mask that covers your nose and mouth in public areas
- Getting a flu shot once a year between late September and mid-October for maximum effectiveness
Many safety measures including washing your hands, wearing a mask, disinfecting common surfaces, practicing physical distancing and staying home when experiencing flu-like symptoms are all important safety measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and the flu. However, a flu shot is still the best defense against contracting and spreading the flu.
Whether you’re experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or the flu, we recommend contacting a licensed medical professional to ensure you’re caring for yourself and reducing any potential spread. If you have COVID-19 symptoms or have been exposed to COVID-19 you should wait until your quarantine or isolation period is over to get your flu shot.
Schedule your flu shot today at your local Dignity Health Medical Group clinic. Our clinics are open and implementing thorough safety routines and regulations to ensure the safety of every patient, staff member, physician, and advanced practice provider. You can get more information or message us online if you have questions about the flu, or would like to learn more about our commitment to safety during the COVID-19 pandemic.