DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — The annual flu season is just around the corner, and experts say safety measures aimed at preventing the spread of coronavirus may lead to fewer cases of the flu.
One local doctor says we typically start seeing sporadic flu cases popping up in September or October. But this year, the big question is how severe will the cases be, and will we only see them among people that are considered to be high risk?
Dr. Roberto Colon, the associate chief medical officer at Miami Valley Hospital said the current virus prevention measures are likely helping to prevent other contagious illnesses.
“The hand hygiene, the face coverings, the social distancing, and the avoiding groups are going to help reduce transmission for influenza when it gets here because it gets transmitted in a similar manner where we have the droplet transmissions but also some of the contact,” he said.
He said we may see a later start to flu season as well as different peaks, but warned against skipping a flu shot this year.
“You can get COVID while you have a depressed immune system because of influenza. That could potentially make COVID worse, so it is incredibly important that you are protecting yourself,” Dr. Colon said.
The symptoms of coronavirus and flu infection only vary slightly.
“With COVID people lose the sense of smell and the sense of taste. That’s not something you can expect to see with influenza. With influenza, we don’t expect to see strokes or blood clots but a lot of the other cardinal symptoms, the cough the fever, the shortness of breath the headaches the muscle aches are some of the same things that we see with COVID,” Dr. Colon said. “You are going to require a test to be able to tell whether you have influenza, COVID or as we saw earlier in the season…both.”