(WJHL)- Flu season is normally a time where we take extra precautions. Millions are diagnosed with the flu every year, with some cases leading to hospitalizations, even death. But flu season and the COVID pandemic at the same time can cause a lot of confusion, and possibly panic.
Doctor Jonathan Blankenship, a primary care physician with Holston Medical Group has some advice to help us navigate through the season, figure out the difference between the flu and COVID, and the best way to avoid getting sick.
Dr. Blankenship says both COVID and the flu have similar symptoms. He says, “You’ve got your fever, runny nose, weakness, chills, body aches, things like that.”
But Blankenship says you can protect yourself from one of the illnesses with the flu vaccine.
“The (flu) vaccine itself will not protect you against COVID,” he says. “But, if you get the flu vaccine, you’re able to stay out of the hospital, out of the areas where people are sick, you’re less likely to get the COVID.”
He says staying healthy can keep our healthcare system running smoothly, without being overwhelmed.
“It’s already dealing with so many people with COVID, and as you know, we don’t have a vaccine or a good treatment for COVID, so adding people with the flu on top of that, it would be a heavy strain on healthcare professions.”
A heavy strain he says we can help prevent by remaining vigilant.
“It’s more important now than ever, and we need to treat it just like we did the first couple of months, he says. “Hey, let’s wear a mask, let’s wash our hands, let’s keep social distances. Because the last thing we want to do is to see a loved one pass away because we didn’t do our part.”
Doctor Blankenship says he is seeing flu vaccine manufacturers increase their production in hopes more people will get the flu vaccine during the flu season and the COVID 19 pandemic.