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Essentials To Prevent a Twindemic This Flu Season.

Written exclusively for bümo by Dr. Flora Sinha, an internal medicine physician, passionate about preventative care, and mom of one.

"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."

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?

thermometer

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.

Mask Box

What are the Differences?

The Flu
COVID-19
Influenza has different strains. Each year, different types and strains affect us.
SARS CoV-2 has different strains but its mutation rate is very low, as far as we know.
Does not cause loss of taste or smell.
Can cause a loss of taste or smell.
Symptoms can present 1-4 days after infection.
Symptoms can present 2-14 days after infection.
Spread in similar ways as COVID-19, but less contagious.
Spread in similar ways as the flu, but more contagious.
Young children are at high risk for severe illness.
Severe illness can occur in young children (mostly school aged) but less often.
Similar complications as COVID-19, but usually not associated with blood clots and MIS-C.
Similar complications as the flu, but also associated with blood clots and MIS-C.
Can be treated with antiviral medications.
Treatment is still being explored and currently no FDA approved medications.
Multiple FDA approved vaccines.
No vaccine as of yet.
Wash hands

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!

Flora Family

 

About the Author

Dr. Flora Sinha is a board-certified internal medicine physician practicing in Southern California.

Instagram: @dr_flosinha

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