The 2021-22 flu season is right around the corner, with October being the kick-start to any pesky germs that tend to arise the handful of months following. To prevent the jump in illnesses, it is recommended that everyone six months and older get vaccinated early.
Few exceptions to the vaccine do exist. These exceptions include children younger than six months of age, people with severe, life-threatening allergies to any ingredients within the vaccine and people who have had an intense reaction to any administered in the past. However, for most, physicians strongly recommend it -- especially as the COVID-19 virus is still present today.
It can be tricky to differentiate the symptoms of the flu versus COVID-19. They are both contagious respiratory illnesses, but are caused by two different viruses. More times than not, people experiencing illnesses may be pointed to COVID-19 testing to fully confirm which virus is truly causing their illness. Without testing, it can be nearly impossible to determine which is which.
Common symptoms that the flu and COVID-19 share include:
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath and/or difficulty breathing
- Sore throat
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Muscle pain and/or body aches
- Vomiting and/or diarrhea
- Change in taste and/or smell
However, it’s good to keep in mind that losing your taste and/or smell is much more common as a COVID-19 symptom and less common in people battling the flu.
If you have yet to be vaccinated for either the flu or COVID-19 -- or both -- you still have time. Research suggests that the flu and COVID-19 vaccination can be administered at the same time, within the same day. Just be sure to get one in each arm, to prevent any side of your body being more sore than the other.
In addition to the vaccinations, here are some other things you can do to help protect yourself and others from dangerous diseases. We know, we know -- you’ve read this a thousand times this past year, but this information is still just as true today.
- If you are sick, distance yourself from loved ones
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
- Wash your hands appropriately
- Clean and disinfect frequently-touched objects and surfaces
Ultimately, if you are not feeling well, stay home and contact your trusted healthcare provider. They will know which steps to take to get you feeling better before the holiday season begins. Just remember that when it comes to the health of ourselves and others, we are all in this together.