Flu vs COVID-19 – The Upcoming Battle

My husband is a big fan of monster movies. He is especially fond of the Godzilla movies, and has probably seen all of them. One of his favorites is the movie that pits Godzilla vs. Mothra in a movie from the 1960’s. It is a movie that pits two of the biggest threats to mankind against each other, with the health and well-being of a country hanging in the balance. The same situation is happening around the world soon; but, instead of two monsters battling for supremacy, we have two monster health situations: The flu vs. COVID-19.

While comparing the current health situation with a monster movie from the 60’s is done in fun, the potential for large scale health problems are very real. Every year the flu attacks millions of people in the United States and according to the Center for Disease Control, leads to between 12,000 and 64,000 deaths. To compound problems, we are in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic which has caused over 200,000 deaths in six months. Separately, these are two serious heath situations, but combined they could be a problem of epic proportions.

One of the best ways for people to protect against this potential dual threat is by being vaccinated. While the COVID-19 vaccine is not ready yet, and possibly not widely available until some time in 2021, you can still be vaccinated against the flu.

“Flu shot” by National Institutes of Health (NIH) is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

Annually I have always got a flu shot for as far back as I can remember. My husband on the other hand was not as diligent as I was. It was only recently that my convincing arguments in support of getting vaccinated – okay it may have been bordering on nagging – finally payed off and he was vaccinated. He has readily agreed to have a flu shot again this year. I guess no convincing will be needed this year! ?

Many people ask why do you need a flu shot this year? My response to them is quite simple. COVID-19 is not eliminated, though hopefully will be soon, in the meantime it is still a very real threat. The biggest concern is what will happen if you get the Coronavirus AND the flu? What will the symptoms be like? What will the recovery time be like? What will the treatment options be? And, most importantly, what will the long-term effects of both illnesses be for people? Unfortunately, the answer to that last question is we do not know.

So, the biggest hurdle we face is to avoid getting either of these. The flu shot will go a long way in preventing getting the flu. Unfortunately, that is not the case with COVID-19. But you can take precautionary measures that can prevent both from hitting you and your family.

A simple measure that everyone should do is wash your hands frequently to eliminate germs you may have. If you must sneeze or cough, make sure you cover your mouth to prevent spreading germs. Clean regularly with sanitizing wipes or cleaner in heavy traffic areas. Avoid crowds that could spread germs. Follow the guidelines that your local government has instituted to stop COVID-19 from spreading. For example, wear masks while out in public and practice social distancing by keeping a minimum of six feet from others when possible.

Finally, it is also important to be on the lookout for symptoms of both COVID-19 and the flu. The tricky part is that many of the symptoms are the same. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms, please avoid being in contact with others and notify your medical care provider. To help you identify possible signs of illness, here are the most common symptoms. Be well!

Flu Symptoms: fever, headache, runny nose, chills, cough, and sore throat

COVID-19 Symptoms: fever, dry cough, tiredness, aches/pains, loss of taste or smell, headache and breathing difficulty

Similarities and Differences between the Flu and COVID-19 from the CDC

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