PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) - Flu season is here, and if you haven't gotten your flu shot yet, the Oregon Health Authority is urging people to get one soon, so we don't deal with a "twindemic".
“It’s actually an even more important year than normal to get a flu shot," Dr. Sharlene Matthieu said.
The OHA just reported the highest weekly total of new cases to date, with 2,418 reported for the week of Oct. 5 through Oct. 11.
“We’ve seen overwhelmed healthcare systems across the world," Dr. Ahson Saeed, an urgent care physician at The Portland Clinic, said. "On a bad year, influenza could do that on its own. So, we’re facing a winter season here where potentially both of those could come into effect at the same time, and that would be a bad set up."
Saeed said because there are so many symptoms between COVID-19 and the flu that overlap, COVID-19 testing will be really important this winter.
“I don’t think that most people will be able to figure out the difference without testing," Saeed said. "The symptoms in common with both would be things like cough, runny nose, nasal congestion, sore throat, fever, body aches, headaches."
Both said after getting a flu shot, there may be some people who experience fatigue or a low-grade fever. With so many symptoms to be alert about, Dr. Sharlene Matthieu with the East Portland Pediatric Clinic gives some advice for what to keep in mind after you get a flu vaccination.
“One of the ways you’ll know is the timing of it," Matthieu said. "If your fever is happening the day or the next day after your flu shot, that’s a good indication that it’s from the flu shot and not COVID-19 and normally it’s pretty brief. It’s over within an hour or a day."
They also both recommend you do your part to prevent the spread of both the flu and COVID-19.
“They both need to be taken very seriously so a lot of the things we’re doing for COVID, we can also do for the flu," Saeed said. "Like washing your hands, respiratory etiquette like wearing a mask."
If you're still unsure about what symptoms you're experiencing, Matthieu said you can always call your doctor who can help.
OHSU also has a chart that can help explain the differences between the two, which you can find on their website.
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