The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted FLU activity and the very notion of the FLU, for the past two seasons in the U.S. With that being said, we need to continue to prepare for co-circulation of both viruses. According to the CDC, FLU activity is surging across the country. The CDC reports that there have been at least 53,000 hospitalizations and 2900 deaths from the FLU, already this season. Influenza A (H3N2) has been confirmed to be the main culprit and is, along with most influenza viruses seen this season, antigenically similar to the influenza viruses included in this season’s FLU vaccine. That is great news!
With COVID-19 still lurking and RSV running amuck, the best way to protect yourself is to get your FLU vaccine. The vaccine helps prevent infection and severe complications that may occur due to infection with the FLU. The CDC recommends anyone 6 months and older be vaccinated. It may also be important to distinguish between the symptoms of COVID-19 and the FLU, to seek appropriate action if needed. Here is a list of similarities and differences (you will find few differences):
- SOB or difficulty breathing
- Fatigue (tiredness)
- Sore throat
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Muscle pain or body aches
- Change in or sense of smell, more frequent with COVID-19
- Symptoms appear 1-4 days with infection with FLU
- Symptoms appear 2-5 days after infection and up to 14 days with COVID-19
- A person with COVID-19 may be contagious longer than a person with the FLU
- Vomiting/diarrhea are more common in children with the flu versus all ages with COVID-19
For more information, visit www.cdc.gov/flu/.
At ARCpoint Labs of Douglasville, we understand the importance of staying healthy for yourself, your family and your community. Because of this, we offer low-cost FLU vaccines to ages 13 years and older. We’ve also made available FLU testing. When you need to know exactly what you are dealing with, FLU vs COVID-19 or both, stop in for a test. It is imperative that you know if co-infection is occurring, as it can lead to further complications.
Wishing you happiness and wellness for the holidays!
(Your APL of Douglasville pharmacist)