Flu season expected to be “severe”, health ministry says

Just imagine having COVID 19 and the flu simultaneously.

It could happen this flu season, says COVID 19 Incident Commander Cindy Farr of the Missoula County Department of Health, even though there were very few cases of the flu last winter.

“We know we are still in the midst of this wave of COVID cases, but we are also entering flu season and the prediction so far from the CDC and the World Health Organization is that we will see a flu season this year, although we didn’t see one last year, and they’re actually predicting it could be a pretty severe flu season and it’s possible to catch COVID and the flu at the same time, ”Farr said.

Farr said COVID and the flu are respiratory viruses and both can have similar symptoms at first, so families should be especially aware of the symptoms this winter.

“It is certainly difficult to tell the two apart because the symptoms are very similar,” she said. “So if you have symptoms and you’re going to get tested and your COVID test comes back negative, then you should see a health care provider and get tested for the flu. The big difference is that while there is nothing we can give you for COVID early in the disease to make it shorter, there are medications you can get from your health care provider if you do. catch it early enough if you have the flu, and it will shorten the duration of symptoms.

Farr reiterated the similarities between COVID 19 and the flu.

“Influenza and COVID are both viral illnesses and they are both viral respiratory illnesses,” she said. “That’s why we want everyone to be protected from the flu (with the flu shot), so that if you end up getting COVID, you at least know that you probably aren’t going to get the flu and COVID at the same time. “

Farr said flu and COVID vaccinations differ, especially for different ages.

“If you wanted to get the COVID shot, you had to be 12 or older,” she said. “The flu shot is available to anyone six months and older. These are viruses that are different enough that the flu shot is really alone will help them not to get the flu. But it is certain that the flu can affect people of all ages. And that tends to affect the young and old much more severely than those of us who are sort of in the middle. So definitely one way to protect your child who may be too young to get the COVID shot is to get him or her flu shot. “

Some flu symptoms may include fever or a feeling of fever with chills, cough or sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body pain, headache, and fatigue.

Symptoms of COVID-19 include all of the above, but can also include further loss of taste or smell, sore throat, nausea or vomiting, and diarrhea.

See your health care provider for any of these symptoms.

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