Flu Season & COVID: What you need to know

Health officials have urged the public to wear masks, wash their hands and socially distance to prevent the spread of COVID-19, but we’ll soon have a new virus to cope with – the flu. Depending on whether people continue (or begin to) follow these guidelines, Oklahoma could see a drop in flu cases or a dangerous viral storm, experts say. Getting a flu vaccine as soon as possible will help prevent this from happening.

As flu vaccinations are starting to become available in our area, we thought this would be a good time to share some helpful information on COVID and the flu from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

What is the difference between Influenza (Flu) and COVID-19?

CDC: Influenza (Flu) and COVID-19 are both contagious respiratory illnesses, but they are caused by different viruses. COVID-19 is caused by infection with a new coronavirus (called SARS-CoV-2) and flu is caused by infection with influenza viruses. Because some of the symptoms of flu and COVID-19 are similar, it may be hard to tell the difference between them based on symptoms alone, and testing may be needed to help confirm a diagnosis. Flu and COVID-19 share many characteristics, but there are some key differences between the two.

Will there be flu along with COVID-19 in the fall and winter?

CDC: While it’s not possible to say with certainty what will happen in the fall and winter, CDC believes it’s likely that flu viruses and the virus that causes COVID-19 will both be spreading. In this context, getting a flu vaccine will be more important than ever. CDC recommends that all people 6 months and older get a yearly flu vaccine.