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Healthcare workers prepare for flu season complicated by COVID-19


Atlanta — Public health officials are preparing for the difficult months ahead with both the coronavirus and the flu epidemic, and residents are calling for help in avoiding the crisis.

“Expectations are very scary,” said Dr. Hugo Scornic, a pediatrician and president of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Georgia.

The message to the tired mass is the same as it has been for months. Wear a mask, keep yourself socially away from others, and avoid congestion. But they say it’s more important than ever to be vaccinated against the flu.

Every year, there are collaborative campaigns to encourage people to be vaccinated with varying success. About half of the US population is vaccinated and 5-20% get the flu.

But believing it will be even stronger this year, will face additional hurdles.

Many people are accustomed to getting a flu shot at the place where they work or during an annual health checkup. But because of the pandemic, many people are hesitant to work from home or go to the clinic.

Georgia state health officials and doctors said they are considering creative ways to vaccinate in a safe environment-probably in a grocery store, church parking lot, or doctor’s office. Curb outside.

COVID-19 and influenza are contagious respiratory illnesses that spread in a similar manner, mainly via droplets, to people with a cough, sneeze, or conversation. And the virus shares symptoms: fever, headache, cough, sore throat, muscle aches, fatigue.

Therefore, it is often difficult at first to distinguish between the two. COVID-19 is more contagious than influenza, and adults infected with coronaviruses often have many illnesses.

However, even the common flu can be dangerous and can be resource intensive if a wave of sick patients appears in the doctor’s office or hospital.

To make matters worse, COVID-19 and the flu can cause the disease at the same time. It is not yet clear how the two viruses interact, but doctors believe that flu may make patients more vulnerable to a serious attack on COVID-19. Using both at the same time can be catastrophic.

“The two epidemics can be very serious if they occur at the same time,” said Dr. Walt Orenstein, deputy director of the Emory Vaccine Center and professor of infectious diseases at Emory University School of Medicine. I will. “You don’t want to get COVID-19 and the flu. And you don’t want to recover from one, and you don’t want to accidentally get the other on it. That’s not good either.”

Roberts Redfield, Director of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, warns officials are preparing for a public health nightmare in the fall.

But Redfield says it’s far better than experts fear if Americans wear masks, keep social distances, wash their hands, avoid crowds, and get the flu vaccine. It was

Although the start of the 2019-20 flu season was a bad one, the number of cases in the US has dropped significantly since the advent of the coronavirus. Probably because people were more enthusiastic about hand washing and other measures to avoid illness.

Still, the flu season was tough for children. The CDC reported 188 pediatric deaths associated with influenza during the relatively mild US season.

According to the CDC, the risk of complications in healthy children, especially young children, is higher with influenza than with COVID-19. Children with underlying illnesses are at increased risk of severe illness from both influenza and COVID-19.

A total of 94 people were killed and more than 2,500 hospitalized in the last flu season in Georgia.

Authorities monitored influenza activity in Australia, Chile and other countries in the Southern Hemisphere to predict severity this season.

Although they reported low levels, experts pointed out that many of them are implementing more stringent COVID-19 containment measures, which would stop the spread of the flu. Here the limits are generally loose.

On the other hand, because of the pandemic, more and more Americans will wear masks during the flu season.

Producers are increasing their supply of influenza vaccines to respond to what they anticipate will be in high demand. CVS Pharmacy and Minute Clinic said they plan to administer 18 million vaccines, more than double the number of the flu season last year.

Many health plans and employers cover the full cost of influenza vaccination. Otherwise, it usually costs $30-40.

The federal health authorities have also issued a directive permitting pharmacists in all states to administer childhood vaccinations, including the influenza vaccine. Previously, vaccination at pharmacies was only allowed for children over the age of 13, but this latest directive allows pharmacies to vaccinate children aged 3 years.

While praising the measure as a way to vaccinate more children, the American Academy of Pediatrics calls the measure “incredibly misunderstood,” and the pediatrician’s clinic is open and safe. Said. The organization advises that the family should go to a trusted doctor they know.

The CDC recommends that all people over 6 months be vaccinated against influenza with a few exceptions. This is especially important for people at high risk of serious complications, such as children under the age of two, adults over the age of 65, pregnant women, and people with medical conditions such as diabetes and heart disease.

September and October are good times to get a shot. The flu season usually begins in October, peaks from December to February, and usually ends in early spring. It extends until May.

After vaccination, it takes about two weeks for the antibodies to develop and be protected in the body.

Vaccination is usually effective in preventing influenza infection in 40-60% of vaccinated people, depending on how closely they are matched with those who have the flu.

But experts emphasize that even if a person is vaccinated and has the flu, the vaccine can reduce the severity of the disease.


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