Navigating flu season during the COVID-19 pandemic

Flu season’s arrival as COVID-19 cases grow cause concern for ‘twindemic’
Flu season’s arrival as COVID-19 cases grow cause concern for ‘twindemic’
Updated: Nov. 25, 2020 at 3:19 PM EST
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Flu season is just getting underway in the Coastal Empire, which can cause several questions for people as we continue through the COVID-19 pandemic.

The differences between a cold, the flu and COVID-19 can be subtle, that’s why doctors are asking you to be extra alert and more aware this time of year.

“Sometimes it’s difficult so we have to triage and see what’s the most likely thing that is going to be affecting you in particular,” said Dr. Ben Watson, with SouthCoast Health.

As the weather begins to shift and flu season moves in, doctors at SouthCoast Health are being cautious. They are not only screening patients before entry, but also separating those who are sick to prevent from spreading illness.

They feel this is important as COVID continues to infect more than a hundred thousand Americans every day. They say while there are common illnesses COVID is now at the top of the list.

“You know the fact is that if you have the sniffles or your sick what’s the most contagious thing right now it’s COVID-19,” Dr. Watson said.

But it’s not just COVID that is causing a concern it’s the beginning of flu season too. While they are seeing more SouthCoast patients get a flu vaccine, there’s concern some may be double infected.

“The last thing in the world you want to do is get flu and then get COVID on top of it or get COVID and have flu on top of it. That would be just a double-whammy, not good at all. So, you know we’re guarding against that here at SouthCoast and I am sure at other places they are doing the same thing is that we’re testing,” Dr. Watson said.

While SouthCoast has conducted more than 8,000 COVID tests, Dr. Watson says they are also running a number of other tests on patients for flu, RSV, strep throat, and more. He says they will use virtual visits to minimize exposure. Though Dr. Watson believes we will see a decreased flu season because of the public health precautions we are taking, he says we must remain diligent especially now.

“We do need to continue to social distance, we still need to continue to wear our masks and congregate in small groups. I know thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, but we’ve confined ourselves to just our immediate family,” Dr. Watson said.

Doctors say if you are experiencing symptoms you should monitor them, stay home and call before going to the doctor.

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