Expert shares tips on how to prep for flu season

NOW: Expert shares tips on how to prep for flu season

SOUTH BEND, Ind. --- With fall already underway flu season has officially arrived — and it’s causing many to confuse the symptoms with COVID-19. According to the CDC, last year the U.S. saw a record number of flu vaccines being administered and it’s something health officials want to continue seeing going into this year.

Fall weather typically brings a spike in seasonal allergies and common colds like the flu. While it’s not commonly mandated to go to work or school--- experts say that getting the flu shot is the best way to stay healthy.

“Hand hygiene of course is number 1 and the other thing that is very important to do is you need to wear a mask when you’re out in public. If you have any signs or symptoms of a cold please go ahead and put a mask on just to minimize the contact with other people, said Maria Schiebel, Nurse Practitioner.

Schiebel says the symptoms of COVID-19 and the flu are very similar. Typically, patients will experience fevers, muscle aches, congestion, and sore throats so it’s easy to get confused. While many immediately believe they have COVID due to the ongoing pandemic she says there’s no need to panic because the flu is just as prevalent now with fall underway.

“Definitely come in be seen. Be evaluated by a provider. Whether it’s your own family doctor or a MinuteClinic provider," said Schiebel.

Schiebel says seasonal allergies are also something to be aware of. If you’re experiencing symptoms like chills that typically will be allergy related - while a fever could indicate either a COVID-19 or flu diagnosis.

“We can look at your symptoms and go ahead and differentiate between if we need to go ahead and do a flu test or if we need to do a COVID test. Or if it’s just seasonal allergies then we can go ahead and get you treated," said Schiebel.

Flu shots are already available for those interested but health officials advise no one should receive the shot while symptomatic with COVID-19.

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