Dr. Alina Filozov, Middlesex Health chief of infectious disease, can’t stress enough the importance of getting a flu shot this year.
Dr. Filozov says the symptoms of the flu cannot be distinguished from the symptoms of COVID-19. It is better that you are protected from the flu. It lessens the chance that you will need to quarantine and stay out of work or school.
And don’t forget: the flu comes with its own complications, including death, which can impact the same age groups that are most impacted by COVID-19.
“We need all the protections we can get,” Dr. Filozov says.
Flu season is usually between October and April, peaking in January and February. However, it can last into the late spring. It is mainly spread by tiny droplets made when people who have the flu cough, sneeze or talk. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people nearby.
Symptoms of both COVID-19 and the flu include fever, cough, shortness of breath, diarrhea, loss of smell and muscle aches. Other complications, such as pneumonia, can make it even more difficult to distinguish between the two illnesses. The only way to truly do so is by getting tested.
Sometimes, patients can develop both the flu and COVID-19 together, which can lead to more severe symptoms.
What to do
Be sure to continue to wash your hands thoroughly, wear your mask and maintain social distance. Taking these precautions will help protect you from both illnesses, Dr. Filozov says.
Getting a flu shot is the most important step in preventing the flu, and you can get flu shots at your medical provider’s office, as well as many local drug stores.
If you do experience any symptoms of COVID-19 and the flu, call your medical provider’s office. They can help you determine your next steps, which may mean getting a COVID-19 and/or flu test.
Middlesex and COVID-19 testing
Testing is available by appointment to both individuals who are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and to those who are asymptomatic but need to be tested for other reasons. For example, reasons asymptomatic individuals may need to be tested could include a recent high-risk exposure to the virus. Individuals may also need to be tested because of travel or for work or school.
COVID-19 testing is available by appointment to existing patients of all 12 Middlesex Health Primary Care offices; all three Middlesex Health Family Medicine offices; and the Middlesex Health Infectious Disease and Pulmonary offices (MultiSpecialty Group) in Middletown. Urgent Care offices in Middletown and Madison are also now offering COVID-19 testing by appointment. An order from a medical provider is needed.
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