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Health experts warn COVID-19 will mingle with upcoming flu season

Published: Sep. 11, 2020 at 5:33 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - With COVID-19 showing no indications of slowing down, health experts warn people will need to be wary of another illness thrown into the mix: the flu.

According to the CDC, flu season usually begins in October, with peak illness between December and February. Physicians warn, when it comes to influenza and COVID-19, there is little to no difference in symptoms.

“We expect that this will be a very busy fall season as far as respiratory virus season goes," UW Health Medical Director for Infection Prevention Dr. Nasia Safdar said.

While COVID-19 stands alone with loss of taste and smell, the two viruses overlap on symptoms such as a fever, muscle aches and shortness of breath.

Safdar said, even if symptoms seem mild, parents sending their children back to school in-person should keep them at home.

“You know children will often get runny noses, so this is not going to be easy necessarily. But, since we can’t always distinguish from early mild symptoms of COVID and early mild symptoms of flu, the risk to other people and the exposure that can happen is not insignificant," she said.

Safdar said you can fight the flu the same way you prevent COVID-19: wash your hands and be sure to disinfect surfaces.

She said it is possible to get both viruses at the same time. Safdar said she advises people get vaccinated and tested for both if you show symptoms. The CDC recommends people get a flu vaccine by October.

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