Is it flu or COVID-19? Health experts warn it’s hard to tell the difference
Crystal Run Healthcare Published 6:01 a.m. ET Sept. 24, 2020 Aching body? Fatigue? Congestion? It…
Aching body? Fatigue? Congestion? It could be influenza or coronavirus.
Symptoms of the seasonal flu and COVID-19 could be quite similar. (Photo: Getty Images)
As we prepare for the upcoming flu season, there has been much speculation around a possible “twindemic” with the combined resurgence of coronavirus in the fall and winter. Because of overlapping symptoms between the flu and coronavirus, Crystal Run Healthcare physicians and medical experts are urging everyone 6 months of age and older to get vaccinated for the flu this year.
If you’re feeling under the weather, take note of your symptoms in order to describe them to the health care facility you plan to visit. Most facilities, including Crystal Run Healthcare, have a coronavirus hotline. If you’re experiencing virus symptoms, be sure to call first before showing up to any health care building or hospital.
Do I have the flu? Common signs and symptoms
Every fall and winter we prepare for the inevitable influx of sickness during cold and flu season. The flu can be easily confused with the common cold, and now coronavirus, because the three have many similar symptoms. Common signs and symptoms of the flu, according to the Mayo Clinic, include:
- Fever higher than 100.4 F (38 C)
- Aching muscles
- Chills and sweats
- Dry, persistent cough
- Fatigue and weakness
- Nasal congestion
- Sore throat
As health experts have warned, if you present with flu-like symptoms, it will be impossible to tell the difference between the flu and coronavirus without a diagnostic test. Providers will treat patients with a fever, sore throat and cough as if they have coronavirus until a diagnostic test determines that it’s actually the flu. The best way to prevent uncertainty and help health care providers manage illness this fall and winter is to get your flu shot.
Could I have coronavirus? These symptoms can be indicators
Coronavirus has some distinct symptoms, like loss of taste or smell, but the most commonly described symptoms can be easily confused with the flu. Symptoms associated with the coronavirus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, include:
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
Remember, because of the highly contagious nature of coronavirus, it’s important to call your medical facility if you experience any symptoms.
At Crystal Run Healthcare, we’ve set up a coronavirus hotline and drive-through testing sites with everyone’s safety in mind. Our infectious disease specialists continue to follow the COVID-19 pandemic closely to provide the best possible care for patients and help keep our offices safe by adhering to approved recommendations. For those that have been diagnosed with coronavirus, we’re providing safe in-person sick care and follow-up treatment while patients are in recovery.
Prepare for flu season by getting a flu shot
The best way to prevent the flu is by getting a flu shot. (Photo: Getty Images)
Prevention is key when it comes to both the flu and coronavirus. While practicing social distancing, wearing a mask and washing your hands can help prevent the spread of coronavirus and many other communicable diseases, the flu vaccine can help prevent the flu.
There are many rumors surrounding the flu vaccine that have deterred people from getting it in the past, but experts agree, the rumors are false.
“People have claimed for years that getting the flu vaccine can actually give you the flu and that’s entirely not true,” said Dr. Gregory Spencer, chief medical officer and chief medical information officer at Crystal Run Healthcare. “Only inactivated or ‘dead’ flu virus is part of the vaccine, so you can’t actually get the flu from the flu shot. It’s extremely important to get your flu shot this year; if you still have reservations about the flu vaccine, you should discuss them with your provider.”
A flu shot is recommended for anyone 6 months of age or older. The vaccine you receive should be the appropriate one for your age and health status.
Dr. Gregory Spencer. (Photo: Crystal Run Healthcare)
This flu season, trust experts at Crystal Run Healthcare
Whether you have a fever or a stuffy nose, the providers at Crystal Run Healthcare can help with all of your health care needs. With testing for both coronavirus and flu, we can diagnose you properly and set you up with the right care plan. We’ve also made it easier than ever before to get the flu shot with drive-through vaccinations and appointments available on Saturdays. Visit crystalrunhealthcare.com/flu for a complete list of dates and make an appointment today to get your flu shot.
We have made it as easy and safe as possible to visit us in one of our 18 office locations. Crystal Run Healthcare has implemented procedures to keep you safe in accordance with the CDC guidelines. Visit our website today to schedule an in-office or telehealth appointment with one of our more than 400 providers.
To learn more about Crystal Run Healthcare, visit crystalrunhealthcare.com and follow the practice on Twitter,LinkedIn and Facebook.
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