Columbus, OH,
17:46 PM

Medical Minute: Is It COVID-19 or the Flu?

Flu season is here, which means it's officially overlapping with the COVID-19 pandemic.  

In this OhioHealth Medical Minute, Thomas Freundlich, MD, family medicine physician with OhioHealth Physician Group Primary Care – Northfield, talks in tabout the differences between COVID-19 and the flu.  And yes, you can contract both of them at the same time, because they originate from different viruses. 

"Influeza and COVID are both contagious, respiratory illnesses caused by viruses," said Dr. Freundlich.  "There are some key differences between the two.  COVID-19 can spread a lot more easily amongst people and cause a more severe illness.  The difficult thing is that they have overlapping symptoms.  But one of the unique symptoms for COVID is loss of taste or smell."

Dr. Freundlich encourages the community to get their flu shots.

"The flu vaccine can help a lot of us," he said.  "It will help you as an individual lower your risk of getting influenza.  It can be a difficult disease and we truly don't know what can happen if you get a co-infection of influenza and COVID.  In any given year, the flu vaccine is 40 to 60 percent effective.  That might not seem like a lot, but it's a big number.  As a care provider, it makes our job taking care of you easier if you get a flu shot."

But when you start to experience tiredness, aches, a cough and other symptoms, how do you know which one you have? The best way to determine is through testing, as many flu symptoms are also symptoms of COVID-19. 

So the advice you've heard over and over again still rings true: get a flu shot, wear a mask, social distance and wash your hands!

To learn more on this topic and see a breakdown of symptoms, visit the OhioHealth Blog

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