With the pandemic serving as the overarching theme of 2020, there is good reason to be nervous with flu season coming up! I understand, this information and statistics can be scary. Please know, my goal is to educate and not scare anyone! Knowledge is power. There are simple ways to keep ourselves and our families safe in the upcoming months. Let’s go over the basics first.
What is the Flu?
The flu is caused by a virus called influenza virus. This virus causes anywhere from 12,000 to 61,000 deaths annually in the United States since 2010, according to the CDC.
What is COVID-19?
COVID-19 is also caused by a virus, called SARS-CoV-2. This virus, as we all know, has caused many deaths worldwide, a little under 190,000 in the United States and counting. So how do we tell the difference between the flu and COVID-19?
Similarities Between the Two Infections
– Both are contagious, respiratory illnesses.
– Both can cause fatigue, body aches, cough, vomiting, diarrhea, and even pneumonia.
– Both can present in various severities: From mild symptoms to more severe, to even death.
– Both are spread in similar ways – respiratory droplets or small, lingering viral particles that can be transmitted from person to person.
– Since both are caused by viruses, antibiotics, which only treat bacterial infections, will not work as a treatment.
– For both mild to moderate illnesses, supportive care by treating individual symptoms is recommended by doctors.
What are the Differences?
What Can You do to Protect Yourself?
This is the relatively straightforward part!
– Wash your hands or sanitize your hands. I CANNOT stress this enough. This recommendation has stood firm even before COVID-19.
– Sanitize surfaces regularly. Both viruses can live on various surfaces for a short amount of time. This varies between the two and among various surface types.
– Wear masks. Minimize the spread of potentially infected respiratory droplets that can be spread via coughing, sneezing, laughing, screaming (I have a 5-year-old… there is no other volume).
– Keep your distance of 6 feet away from those not in your immediate household
– If you have symptoms, don’t “be a hero,” and power through your illnesses by coming to work/school and potentially exposing others. Be a real hero, and stay home!