- Get your flu shots this season
- Practice physical distancing and wash your hands frequently
- Wear a face mask whenever you go outside
The flu season is almost here. With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it may be difficult for one to differentiate between the symptoms of the two. Common symptoms of flu include fever, sore throat, cough, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches, fatigue, and vomiting and diarrhoea (mostly in children and adults). COVID-19, on the other hand, causes fever, dry cough, tiredness, aches and pains, diarrhoea, conjunctivitis, headache, loss of taste or smell. In more severe cases, the infection can cause shortness of breath or difficulty in breathing, chest pain or pressure, loss of speech or movement.
Flu and COVID-19- Don't be worried, be prepared
Dr Sylvie Briand, Director of WHO's Department of Global Infectious Hazard Preparedness, explains how one can differentiate between COVID-19 and flu, and what are the precautions to be taken.
"We shouldn't be worried, we should rather be prepared. This is because we do have a vaccine for flu. We have antivirals and a set of measures that work for flu, and can reduce the morbidity and mortality linked to influenza," Dr Briand says in the WHO's IGTV.
Preventive tips COVID-19 like physical distancing, washing hands and avoiding close contact, can also work for influenza viruses, she adds. "The flu season was on in Southern hemisphere recently. These measures worked very well. The transmission of flu was very low," she informs.
However, one cannot be certain that this will be the case for Northern hemisphere this fall and winter, or the flu season.
COVID-19 and flu: How to differentiate?
These two viruses can infect the body and cause similar symptoms. When one sees a sign of severity, seeking medical advice is important. "For instance, if one experiences chest pain or difficulty to breathe, ask for medical advice. This is especially important for people with underlying conditions like cardiac disease or other chronic respiratory illness, asthma or diabetes," says Dr Briand.
Speaking of symptoms, there are a few signs that are specific to COVID-19, like loss of taste or smell.
Precautions to be taken by pregnant women
Women experience change in their immunity during pregnancy, and hence it is important for them to be more cautious of flu and COVID-19. Pregnant women are at risk of developing a severe form of influenza, Dr Brian says.
"Pregnant women should avoid places that are crowded. Wash hands frequently and wear a mask whenever you are outside or in crowded places where physical distancing cannot be practiced. Get flu vaccine and check with your physician about their advice for this period" she adds. Watch the full video here:
Consume a nourishing diet that helps in strengthening your immunity, follow an active and healthy lifestyle. Get your flu shots and be prepared rather than being worried about the flu season this year.
(Dr Sylvie Briand, Director of WHO's Department of Global Infectious Hazard Preparedness)
Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.