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Pamplin Media Group-Influenza and COVID

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As the numbers grow, it’s more important than ever to recognize the difference between the two.


As the numbers continue to grow in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic and the weather changes from cool to cold, local doctors are telling the epidemic of respiratory illnesses such as influenza to limit their impact on medical professionals. Particular emphasis is placed on reducing. And the whole society.

Dr. Patricia Auerbach, Chief Medical Officer of the United Healthcare of Oregon, believes that an important factor in stopping the tide is understanding the difference between seasonal influenza and the coronavirus COVID-19.

How are they similar?

“COVID-19 and influenza show symptoms of similar illnesses, both of which cause respiratory illness. Respiratory illnesses can manifest as symptoms ranging from asymptomatic to mild to severe,” Auerbach said. Stated in a digital statement. “Both viruses are transmitted by contact and droplets. As a result, the same public health measures such as hand hygiene, social distance, and wearing a mask are important actions that everything can take to prevent infection.”

However, although similar in some respects, COVID-19 and influenza differ in other respects.

Auerbach said infection rate is an important difference between the two viruses. Influenza has a shorter average incubation period (time from infection to onset of symptoms) and continuous interval (time between consecutive cases) than COVID-19 virus. The continuous interval for COVID-19 virus is estimated to be 5-6 days, but for influenza, the continuous interval is 3 days.

“This means that the flu can show symptoms sooner than COVID-19,” she said.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has confirmed that the virus that causes COVID-19 is more contagious than seasonal influenza, and a new study points out that airborne transmission is the main method of spread. doing. As a result, many states and health authorities strongly recommend wearing a two-layer, snug-fitting cloth mask in public spaces when it is difficult or impossible to maintain a distance of at least 6 feet. ..

Courtesy Photo: Kelly Sickema-Similar, but the symptoms of influenza and COVID-19 are different, and recognizing the differences is beneficial to all of us.Auerbach further stated that children, pregnant women, the elderly, and people with underlying illness are at greatest risk of influenza.

“Our current understanding of COVID-19 is that older people and underlying illnesses such as obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure increase the risk of the most serious infections,” Auerbach said.

Seasonal influenza and COVID-19 share some overlapping symptoms, so people may need to be examined to confirm a proper diagnosis.

• Flu symptoms — Usually, influenza develops suddenly. Common symptoms include constant coughing, sore throat, stuffy nose and runny nose, body aches, headaches, and malaise.

• COVID symptoms-19 — Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or dyspnea, fatigue, muscle or body pain, headache, loss of new taste or odor, sore throat, nausea or vomiting. I will.

Despite the more deadly aspects of COVID-19, Auerbach and United Healthcare emphasized that seasonal influenza should also not be underestimated. All available precautions should be taken this winter and each winter, Auerbac said.

One of the best ways to protect yourself and reduce your chances of getting the flu is to get vaccinated. It is highly recommended to be vaccinated against influenza this year as influenza and COVID-19 can overwhelm healthcare providers together.

“If you don’t have another year, get a flu shot this year,” Auerbach said. “Available from Point of Care locations, pharmacies, or clinics run by qualified healthcare professionals.”

According to the CDC, people over the age of 6 months should be vaccinated against the flu unless there is an unadvised underlying condition.


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