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Confluence: The Flu and COVID-19

What medical professionals are facing.

by Eric Holdeman / September 7, 2020

I had shared my latest Disaster Zone Podcast The Intersection of COVID-19 and the Annual Flu with my sister-in-law who is a medical professional. 

She shared back the following, that highlights the challenges facing diagnosing the illness with both the coronavirus and the flu being active in a community. 

"Great topic - will get around to listening to it  - I am busy reviewing lab results - 141 of them tonight!  

I am reading lots about this in my professional  websites including the difficult if not impossible task of distinguishing between COVID 19 and flu. My guess is we are going to be doing a lot of rapid testing for flu and RSV and assuming everyone else has a cold or COVID.  Another real possibility is that we won't see so many cases of colds and flu because kids aren't in school [she lives in Southern California] and people are wearing masks and washing their hands.  Interestingly, a decrease in cases of acute gastroenteritis ("stomach flu") has been noticed probably attributed to better hand washing.  

Most years only about 1/3 of my patients request flu shots.  Another 1/3 readily accept a flu shot when I offer it.  The remaining 1/3 are really resistant but I can talk about 1/2 of them into getting a flu shot.  I am guessing that I might be able to talk a few more into getting a flu shot this year because most of my patients are really frightened by the possibility of getting COVID 19."

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