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Flu season could look different with COVID-19 guidelines in place

Doctors hope for a favorable flu season
Published: Sep. 1, 2020 at 4:40 PM CDT
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DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) - Flu season is about a month away but the fight against COVID-19 continues. That’s why this year is much different than in year’s past because it will be difficult to tell the symptoms apart.

Flu season varies each year. Doctors see an uptick in cases in October, but this year’s spread of flu could be much different.

“Hopefully it’s actually favorable because we think with all of the social distancing, mask wearing, hand washing, all the things people are doing to prevent the spread of covid actually has a positive impact on the spread of the flu as well,” Charles Harkness, Chief Medical Officer at Southeast Health, said.

Determining what each patient has will come down to testing.

“We can test for the flu to tell which type of flu they have and now we can test for covid,” Dr. Harkness said. “So I think, again, contacting their primary care physician and going over the symptoms and if they think it’s important for testing them then that’s a decision they can make with their physician.”

Dr. Harkness said still the best way to stop the flu is to get the flu shot. Regardless though, the best defenses are already being used to stop the spread of COVID-19.

“The things that we have pushed, in terms of wearing a mask, the hand washing has always been there, the hand washing I think is probably more important with the flu than it is with covid, and social distancing,” Harkness said. “Those things will probably have a positive impact in terms of the spread of the flu so we encourage people to continue doing what we’ve been advocating for some period of time.”

It is possible for someone to catch both the Flu and COVID-19 at the same time.

Dr. Harkness advises everyone to get a flu shot once they are available. Stores like Walgreens and CVS are already carrying the flu shot.

Copyright 2020 WTVY. All rights reserved.

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