Doctors prepare for flu season as COVID-19 continues to spread

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RIVERSIDE, Mo. — Flu season is on the horizon and that has doctor worried about the dual season creating challenges. We’ve heard the experts say, if you have the coronavirus, you’re probably displaying flu-like symptoms.

How to differentiate between COVID-19 and Influenza is top of mind headed into peak flu season.

“It is actually really hard to differentiate between the two because you have very similar symptoms,” Pharmacist and Manager at Phillips Family Pharmacy Robert Fullmer said. “The big ones with influenza are fever, headache, body ache, chills, but those also come along with COVID. So it’s really pretty indistinguishable.”

There is one that sticks out to Primary Care Physician at The Liberty Clinic Dr. Heather Doss, but that’s it.

“One difference would be that COVID can cause loss of taste and smell, which you’re not going to usually see with the flu,” Doss said.

Doss said preventative measures to stop the spread of COVID-19 could also help make for a lighter flu season.

“We are hoping that if people are wearing their masks, washing their hands frequently and social distancing that we will have a mild flu season,” Doss said. “However, we still want people to get their flu shot to give us our best chance at keeping people healthy.

Fullmer said they’ve already seen an uptick in people wanting flu shots this year, which is a good sign.

The flu typically develops 1-4 days after the person is exposed. COVID-19 can take a longer time period, anywhere from 2-14 days.

At the first sign of symptoms, you should not go to work or school and call your doctor, who will likely have you get tested.

Aside from symptoms, a big difference between the flu and COVID-19 is that there are vaccines for influenza.

Everone is encouraged tto get their flu-shots, especially children and pregnant women, who are at a higher risk.

“Getting the flu shot allows you to not get hospitalized or sick from the flu shot, which saves resources for people with COVID to be treated in the hospital,” Fullmer saiid.

He said right now, there’s no good treatment for either, meaning prevention is key.

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