Flu Season Amidst a Pandemic



A young woman standing in front of a road, wearing a mask, which is one of the factors to avoiding the coronavirus.

Gianna Iadevaia, Reporter

“If we have a really bad flu season and even a small spike of COVID, that’s going to strain the health system,” said Dr. Nashant Anad, Chief Medical Officer for BayCare Health System hospitals. As October makes its way around the corner, so does flu season. With two viruses cycling around the world, immune systems are bound to be overwhelmed. While flu vaccines are updated to better match viruses circulating, there isn’t an exact way to prevent both influenza and coronavirus.

According to the U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), coronavirus prevention measures are leading to record low flu rates. Accompanying COVID-19’s determent, a mask must be worn at all times when you are out of your home, in addition to social distancing. Preventing the flu’s spread is similar, you must cover your nose when you cough or sneeze, and avoid close contact with others. In 2018 when flu rates kicked up, the ‘vampire’ method became favored as it prevented germs from being easily spread. The technique is to bring your forearm up to your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze.

Health officials are also advising that individuals receive a flu vaccination. The vaccine lowers your chances of getting influenza by half, according to the Westmed Medical Group in Westchester, New York. Sandra Kesh, the Deputy Medical Director and infectious disease specialist at this facility also says that though the vaccine is not 100 percent effective in preventing the flu, some protection is better than none.

When receiving a flu shot and following COVID-19 orders, it is very unlikely to contract either of these infectious viruses. At OCSA, coronavirus tests are currently being conducted, which started on September 24th. A form also went out in parents’ and guardians emails, for permissions that said child would be tested for COVID randomly during the school day. Flu vaccines are also currently available at a local clinic in Florida, or at a doctor’s office. Appointments to get a vaccine or test are without a doubt recommended. Those who have immune systems that are easily targeted, including elders, children, and pregnant women should look into the flu vaccine in order to prevent any extreme symptoms regarding COVID-19 and the flu.

Telling the difference between a contraction of COVID, and a contraction of influenza is going to be difficult. Hospitals are combating this by putting up screenings, like they did for coronavirus itself and the common cold. If you are concerned that you have either contracted the flu or coronavirus, you may call a doctor’s office and list your symptoms over the phone, and they will let you know whether or not you should come in for a screening.

Protecting more vulnerable communities and families from the spread of these two viruses are vital. When the flu is contracted, it can weaken the immune system enough for COVID-19 to reign on their body. To prevent getting the viruses, heath officials recommend that people follow social distancing rules, wash and sanitize hands frequently, and look into a flu shot.