Flu season is fast-approaching, and it will be important that everyone takes the proper measures to ensure safety as we near the fall and winter months. People 65 years and older, people with chronic health conditions, people who are pregnant, and children have the highest risk of experiencing complications of the flu. Don’t wait! Get your flu shot today.
Symptoms of the flu and differences from COVID-19
Both COVID-19 and the flu will share these symptoms:
- Fever or feeling feverish/having chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Fatigue (tiredness)
- Sore throat
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Muscle pain or body aches
- Change in or loss of taste or smell, although this is more frequent with COVID-19
The main difference between COVID-19 and the flu is the onset of symptoms. People infected with the flu can experience symptoms abruptly, anywhere between one to four days. Those with COVID-19 may experience symptoms anywhere between two to 14 days after infection. If you are unsure about whether you have the flu or COVID-19, a COVID-19 test is recommended to figure out which illness you have.
Importantly, the COVID-19 virus is more contagious than the flu virus – but generally, you should follow health and safety protocols to avoid getting sick with either illness.
Prevention of the flu
Everyone six months old and older should get the annual flu shot to best combat the virus. Even if you get a breakthrough case of the flu, the symptoms tend to be milder if you had the flu shot than without it. Call your primary care clinic or nearest retail pharmacy to learn how to get your flu shot today. You may not even need to make an appointment! Intermountain’s myGeneration clinic teams will have the flu vaccine available starting Sept. 1 and will host vaccination drives for established patients on specific dates throughout flu season.
The flu shot is safe, as are all vaccines.
Even after you are vaccinated, remember to follow healthy protocols to avoid the flu. Washing your hands often with soap and water is one way to avoid catching and spreading the flu. Another way is to avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Disinfecting high-touch surfaces also helps – and make sure to cover your mouth and nose when sneezing and coughing.
Most importantly, if you get sick, stay home to avoid contact with anyone else unless it is to seek medical attention. Physical distancing remains the best way to avoid spreading the flu. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends staying home until your fever is gone for 24 hours.
Follow these steps to maintain a safe and healthy flu season.
*This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical advice or diagnosis from a physician or qualified healthcare professional.