Not since 2010 have we seen such high numbers of people hospitalized with flu. While COVID cases are down, flu activity is rising across the country, including in Tennessee, where the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention declared the state “one of the worst places in the country for flu season.”
According to the CDC flu tracker, the Volunteer State spiked to “very high” flu activity and is among four states – Alabama, South Carolina and the District of Columbia – reporting an early jump in flu cases which is not typical of mid-autumn.
Why are Flu Cases Increasing?
The past few years have seen low instances of flu primarily due to the safety behaviors we’ve practiced during the pandemic – social distancing and masking the most prominent. We’ve become more vulnerable to other respiratory viruses as we've let go of those precautions. Also, lack of preexisting immunity may play a role as some groups, such as children, are experiencing flu for the first time.
The Differences to Know Between Flu and COVID-19?
Flu and COVID-19 are both contagious respiratory illnesses; however, each is caused by different viruses. COVID-19 is caused by a coronavirus called SARS-CoV-2, while flu is caused by influenza A and B. Both are easily transmissible through close contact, and the viruses can spread farther when people are in poorly ventilated indoor spaces. It is challenging to tell one from the other based on symptoms alone. Testing is really the best way to confirm which virus you may have.
Similar symptoms between the flu and COVID-19 include:
- Fever or feeling feverish with chills
- Sore throat
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Muscle aches
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, stay home. If your symptoms are more severe, reach out to your primary care provider or visit a Minor Med location. To rule out COVID-19, take an at-home COVID test for immediate results.
Different antiviral medications help treat the flu and COVID-19; these medications are particularly helpful for high-risk individuals and most effective soon after diagnosis or symptom onset.
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What You Can Do to Protect Yourself From Flu?
Similar to preventing COVID-19 infection, the same safety precautions can help protect against the flu. Here are few key ways you can protect yourself this season:
- Wear a mask when indoors or among large crowds
- Wash hands frequently or use hand sanitizers
- Stay home if you are not feeling well
- Cover your mouth when coughing and sneezing
- Get the flu shot and COVID boosters
Have certainty, get tested or receive your flu shot today.
Visit a Minor Medical Location today!