This year, the flu season has a distinct new tone. Not only are we concerned about flu season itself, but most of us are bracing for a potential second wave of the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19. In fact, in many places, cases are still rising, so we need to be specifically concerned about coinfections. So how do you prepare your healthcare team for flu season in 2020?
Encourage Flu Vaccines
While no one is quite sure about the rate of coinfections, the chance is still there. So getting the flu vaccine as early as possible will be critical. Not only are coinfections a concern, but fewer flu cases will allow hospitals to concentrate on COVID-19 cases and prevent people from exposing themselves when they think they have COVID-19 and seek medical treatment.
Be Aware of The Signs of The Flu
While the two viruses can be similar, there are differences between influenza and the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19. Both can cause fever, fatigue, coughing, sore throat, shortness of breath, headache and body aches, or a runny nose. The flu is usually felt abruptly, and the most common symptom is a fever that can last about 3 to 4 days.
Know the Symptoms of COVID-19
While many of these symptoms are similar, there are some key differences with COVID-19. Some people remain asymptomatic even once they’ve contracted the virus, but symptoms can range from mild to severe for others. The most significant difference from the flu is the loss of taste and smell. Extreme difficulty breathing and confusion are acute symptoms and needs to be addressed immediately.
While the virus is spread easily, the most important thing we know right now to prevent COVID-19 is the use of personal protective equipment. Facemasks and physical distancing can help reduce transmission of the condition. Surgical masks, KN-95 masks, or cotton masks with filters or several layers may be the most effective. The added benefit of these protections is they can also reduce the transmission of the flu.
Wash Hands Regularly
We are still being encouraged to wash our hands regularly and wipe down frequently touched surfaces. Not only will this cut down on the COVID-19 infection rate, but like masks, it will help reduce exposure to the flu virus. Be sure to scrub your hands thoroughly for 2 minutes after you come into contact with any possibly contaminated surfaces or before working with a patient.
Are You Prepared for flu Season and Coronavirus in Your Facility?
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