COVID and the flu: Health officials offer tips to prepare for the season

RAPID CITY, S.D. – With school back in nearly full swing and fall in the air, flu season is right around the corner and during a pandemic, health officials say it’s crucial to be aware of your health and take the necessary precautions.

With the public taking a cautious approach to COVID, officials say they hope this means the spread of the flu will also be slowed. The same rules apply in preventing both viruses like practicing good hygiene, social distancing, and wearing a mask.

Dr. Shankara Kurra, Vice President of Medical Affairs for Monument Health, says it’s also still very important this year to get your flu shot.

“Because our ICU and our hospital does take care of flu cases that can also cause fatalities, severe morbidity especially elderly folks or with heart failure COPD diabetes any of these co-morbid conditions,” said Dr. Kurra. 

He says it is possible to get both COVID-19 and the flu at the same time but it’s also important to know the difference between the two, even though that can prove difficult.

“Both are respiratory viruses and both are causing the effect on the same areas, the lung,” said Dr. Kurra. “COVID with a little more than the flu which, is why we worry. In general, COVID has more impact on breathing, on oxygenation levels so it causes more severe symptoms than the flu. “

He recommends observing your symptoms closely if you start to feel ill and if you’re having a difficult time breathing, call your doctor immediately.

You can also call the Monument Health nurse triage line to help determine the best course of action at 800-279-1466.

Categories: Coronavirus, Local News, South Dakota News