Oct 28, 2020
2020 has put into question every aspect of our daily routine and put “stay healthy” at the top of everyone’s to-do list. Our lives are different, in ways the world never imagined. So, with health set as a priority, how has flu season changed? We spoke with two Banner Health experts to discuss how flu season is different, and how it is the same, in 2020. Promotional products can help to protect you, and PromoProducts.com has a full line of PPE items.
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“This has been an important year for education,” remarked Brandie Beuthin, RN, an infection prevention director at Banner - University Medical Center Tucson. “We’ve seen the world take incredible strides to control the spread of COVID-19 and the importance of owning our own actions, such as masking and social distancing to keep rates low. Utilizing these same behaviors to limit influenza infection is more important than ever to decrease the stress on the healthcare system.”
Protect Yourself from Infection
The flu is still the flu. Even in 2020, the best ways to protect yourself from infection are the same as they’ve been in prior years. Below steps are recommended to lower your risk.
If these flu prevention recommendations look familiar, there’s a good reason. The Flu spreads in the same way that COVID-19 does, mainly by tiny droplets made when people with the flu cough, sneeze or talk.” Social distancing and other necessary mitigation tactics have disrupted the way we operate in 2020, but a silver lining is that the same practices can minimize spread for influenza as well.
The medical community continues to diligently push toward a vaccine for COVID-19. These vaccines take time to safely develop. The influenza vaccine is a proven and necessary asset. It is among our strongest tools in our annual fight against the flu. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend an influenza vaccination annually for every individual 6 months and older.
Although we are social distanced, this does not deemphasize the importance of a flu vaccine. Even if you are working from home and rarely leave the house, it is still recommended that you get vaccinated.” COVID-19 and influenza are said to both weaken your lungs. Exposure to one can increase the risk and severity of the other.
This year, staying safe from the flu is more important than ever. Help keep you and your community safe by getting the flu shot in September or October, before flu season starts in November.
Influenza vs. COVID-19
Both cause respiratory illnesses, and because many of the symptoms are similar, it may be hard to tell the difference between them based on symptoms alone, and testing may be needed to help confirm your diagnosis. Common symptoms shared by COVID-19 and influenza include:
Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults
Symptoms of COVID-19 that are different from flu may include change in or loss of taste or smell.
Those most at risk for severe influenza infection are children, pregnant women, elderly, those with underlying chronic medical conditions and those who are immunosuppressed. For COVID-19, our current understanding is that older age and underlying conditions increase the risk for severe infection.