September 22nd, 2020 – 11:15 AM
Ethan Garrett – WRGA Digital News Editor and Video Reporter
This year’s flu season is a little more complicated as COVID-19 continues to spread in our local communities.
As we enter into the 2020-2021 flu season, Harbin Clinic encourages everyone over six months of age to get a flu vaccine and practice good health habits to stop the spread of contagious respiratory illnesses.
In the video below, WRGA News spoke with Harbin Clinic’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Charles Edward McBride, on what people need to understand about influenza during this pandemic time:
Influenza and COVID-19 are both contagious respiratory illnesses, but they are caused by different viruses. Flu is caused by influenza viruses and COVID-19 is caused by infection with a coronavirus called SARS-CoV-2.
“Symptoms between the two viruses are similar, and it may be difficult to determine the difference between them based on symptoms alone,” says Harbin Clinic’s Infectious Disease & Travel Medicine physician Dr. John Hostetler. “Testing for COVID-19 may be required to help confirm a diagnosis.”
Some individuals, such as older people, young children or those with underlying health conditions, can have serious complications from the flu. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends everyone over six months of age get the flu shot before the flu season begins in October and runs through March. Those who are high-risk, and their contacts and caregivers, should prioritize receiving the flu vaccine this season. For a full list of high-risk groups, visits the CDC’s website here.
Harbin Clinic patients can get the flu vaccine from their primary care physician. Testing for COVID-19 is also available at Harbin Clinic Immediate Care.
Together, we can fight the spread of contagious respiratory illnesses.
Here are some quick tips to stay healthy this flu season: Get a flu shot, Wear a mask, Practice social distancing, Wash your hands, Stay home when sick, and Talk to your doctor about the pneumonia vaccine.