Upcoming flu season mixed with COVID-19 a concern for health professionals

Published: Sep. 10, 2020 at 10:35 AM CDT
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ROCK ISLAND COUNTY, Ill. (KWQC) - Flu season is just around the corner and, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues, has health professionals concerned.

COVID-19 and the flu are two different viruses that someone could have at different or even the same time, but because their symptoms are so similar it will be hard to know which one you have without getting tested. Because of this, health officials are urging the public to get a flu vaccination this year.

“That is something we can control is the rate of flu in our community,” Janet Hill, Chief Operating Officer of the Rock Island County Health Dept., said, “People who have flu and need to be hospitalized and people who have COVID and need to be hospitalized are using the exact same resources. They’re using the ICU. They’re using ventilators. And they’re using the same staff. So we are very concerned if we have rampant flu and rampant COVID that our healthcare system will not be able to handle it.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as many as 56 million people were diagnosed with the flu in the United States during the 2019-2020 season. This resulted in around 26 million visits to doctor’s offices and 740,000 hospitalizations around the country.

In efforts to control COVID-19 and eventually the flu, you are still encouraged to follow health precautions including: wearing a mask, washing your hands, and watching your distance around others.

“While you think of yourself as healthy perhaps, it is also really thinking about the other people you have contact with. It could be someone in your family who you love, it could be someone standing in the line next to you in the grocery store. We really owe it to each other to treat each other with kindness and grace. And that is taking precautions and thinking about the other person,” Hill said.

The Rock Island County Health Dept. will begin circulating information about flu vaccine clinics within the next month.

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