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Upcoming Flu Season: What you need to know

Published: Nov. 3, 2021 at 6:03 PM CDT
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(KTIV) - With winter approaching, flu season isn’t that far away. And it’s important to know the difference between the flu, and symptoms of COVID-19 as the pandemic persists.

“The most important thing is to do what you can to protect others,” said Jeff O’Tool, UnityPoint Health - St. Luke’s Medical Director of Hospital Operations.

With people returning to pre-pandemic life Dr. O’Tool says he’s expecting an increase in flu cases as people shed pandemic precautions.

“We didn’t see any flu at all last year. So, it is fearful that with decreased immunity and people returning to normal behavior that we may have a bad flu season this year. Nobody knows for sure, but there’s a lot of fear in the medical community that that may happen,” said Dr. O’Tool.

If you’re going to get a vaccine, or booster, to protect yourself against COVID-19, medical experts said it’s safe to get your flu shot, as well.

“Vaccinations for influenza and booster vaccines or primary series of COVID vaccines can be given at the same time. Generally, we try to do those in opposite arms,” said Tara Geddes, Floyd Valley Healthcare Community Health Manager.

Medical providers at MercyOne Singing Hills Family Medicine say make sure to continue practicing good health habits we’ve become accustomed to.

“Wash your hands. Social distance. Right now, not because of the flu so much, but we’re still seeing COVID. Differentiating between the two, we don’t know. Cover your cough. Stay home if you’re sick,” said Melissa Levering, ARNP, MercyOne Singing Hills Family Medicine

Helping keep you, and your loved ones, safe this flu season.

When it comes to flu versus COVID, medical experts say it can be tough to distinguish between the two viruses. So, what should you do if you think you have either one?

“It’s very difficult to differentiate the difference between flu and COVID. Both of them have very similar symptoms which can include high fever, body aches, cough, nausea, stomach pain. All of those things can be the same for both. So, it’s really almost impossible without testing to know the difference between the two,” said Tara Geddes, Floyd Valley Healthcare Community Health Manager.

If you experience flu or COVID symptoms, experts recommend seeing your doctor to get tested to see which virus you may have come down with.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has approved the use of Pfizer’s COVID vaccine for 5- to 11-year-olds.

The Siouxland District Health Department has not yet received its shipment of the new pediatric vaccine. But, they expect 4,500 doses to come, sometime this week.

A reminder: the pediatric COVID vaccine, from Pfizer, is given in two doses, three weeks apart. And, the dose given to kids from 5-to-11 is one-third the dose given to adults.

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