Red Cross Tips on COVID-19 and Influenza-What You Should Know

12/11/2021 9:44 PM | Anonymous

In the midst of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, flu season has arrived in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) urges everyone who is eligible to get vaccinated against both COVID-19 and influenza.

COVID UPDATE The numbers are on the rise. As of December 7, the U.S. is seeing more than 120,000 cases a day, up 27% in the last two weeks. More than 55,000 coronavirus patients are hospitalized across the country, up more than 15% over the last two weeks. The CDC recommends everyone ages 5 and older get fully vaccinated against COVID-19 vaccine to help protect against the coronavirus. If eligible, people who have been vaccinated should also get their booster dose.

FLU SEASON According to the CDC, the number of flu cases is currently low across the country, but starting to rise. Most cases are being seen in children and young adults. The CDC recommends that everyone age 6 months or older get a flu vaccine. Flu vaccines are available at many different locations, including pharmacies and health departments. Visit www.vaccines.gov to find a flu vaccine near you

DO I HAVE THE FLU OR COVID? There are more similarities between the two illnesses than differences, including their symptoms, making it difficult to know which virus you have. If you become sick, experts recommend that you call the doctor with your symptoms and begin to quarantine. Also, it is possible to have both influenza and COVID-19 at the same time which could lead to more serious illnesses and even death. A test may be necessary to determine which virus is making you ill.

Both COVID-19 and flu can have varying degrees of signs and symptoms, ranging from no symptoms (asymptomatic) to severe symptoms. Common symptoms that COVID-19 and flu share include:

  • Fever or feeling feverish/having chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue (tiredness)
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle pain or body aches
  • Headache
  • Vomiting and diarrhea
  • Change in or loss of taste or smell, although this is more frequent with COVID-19
     

Those at highest risk for either illness include older adults, people with underlying medical conditions or women who are pregnant. Healthy children face a higher risk for complications from influenza. Infants and children with underlying medical conditions are at increased risk for both.

Both COVID-19 and flu can result in serious complications, some of which include pneumonia, respiratory failure, fluid in the lungs, sepsis, heart attack or stroke, and multi-organ failure. Additional complications associated with COVID-19 can include blood clots in the veins and arteries of the lungs, heart, legs or brain.

WHAT CAN YOU DO TO HELP STOP THE SPREAD?

  • Stay home if you’re sick. 
  • Wear masks in crowded outdoor settings and for activities where people may not be vaccinated. Masks should be worn by people two years and older. Masks should NOT be worn by children younger than two, people who have trouble breathing, or people who cannot remove the mask without assistance.
  • Continue to social distance.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing and throw the tissue away after use. If a tissue isn’t available, cough or sneeze into your elbow, not your hands.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand-sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

Read more at www.redcross.org

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