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  • Ritu Shah

What Happens When COVID-19 Collides With Flu Season?

Dear Pharmacists,

As we approach the flu season during the ongoing pandemic, this information will be super helpful to pharmacists...


According to CDC, there are differences and similarities between Influenza (Flu) and COVID-19.. Influenza (Flu) and COVID-19 are both contagious respiratory illnesses, but they are caused by different viruses. COVID-19 is caused by infection with a new coronavirus (called SARS-CoV-2) and flu is caused by infection with influenza viruses. Because some of the symptoms of flu and COVID-19 are similar, it may be hard to tell the difference between them based on symptoms alone, and testing may be needed to help confirm a diagnosis. Flu and COVID-19 share many characteristics, but there are some key differences between the two.


For more information: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/symptoms/flu-vs-covid19.htm


So beginning this fall, the US for the first time will have to deal with a flu season wrapped in a global pandemic. Or, as the headline on a recent editorial by Edward Belongia, MD, and Michael Osterholm, PhD, MPH, described it, “a perfect storm.”


At least 2 things are clear: Quicker and more widely available testing is needed to distinguish between COVID-19 and influenza, which have similar symptoms, at least at first, but require different treatments. On top of that, a severe influenza season—the result of more virulent strains, inadequate vaccination rates, or a combination of both—coupled with a COVID-19 pandemic that shows no signs of abating, could overwhelm already taxed emergency departments and intensive care units.


Distinguishing between influenza and COVID-19 “has important prognostic implications,” Singer said in an interview. “In many ways it matters that you find out quickly.”


For more information: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2769835


https://www.wired.com/story/flu-season-and-covid-19-are-about-to-collide-now-what/



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