These past several months have brought a lot of uncertainty during a global pandemic with fears of COVID-19. Now, as we enter cold and ﬂu season, medical professionals are even more concerned. Delphene Noland is the manager of Infectious Disease Control and Prevention at Children’s of Alabama. She’s concerned that families, already fatigued from the pandemic, may let their guard down this ﬂu season. “I think my biggest concern is that people become lax and forget that the ﬂu is a real threat to our community,” she said.
There’s hope that the measures already being taken to respond to COVID-19 may help mitigate the ﬂu. Masks, social distancing and hand washing are all helpful in limiting the spread of both coronavirus and the ﬂu. But the increase in positive COVID-19 cases statewide shows those eﬀorts are not enough to stop transmission entirely. That’s why Noland says it’s critical to get the ﬂu shot this year. “It is of the upmost importance to get your ﬂu shot,” she said. “They are available now. Make it a family event and get everyone vaccinated for the ﬂu.”
How can parents recognize the diﬀerence between the ﬂu and coronavirus? What complicates matters is that their symptoms are so similar. “Loss of taste and smell is hallmark COVID-19,” Noland says. “Shortness of breath, is usually seen later in the ﬂu process if the patient gets pneumonia as a complication. But shortness of breath can be seen early on in patients with COVID-19.”
Symptoms Unique to COVID-19:
Loss of taste and smell
Shortness of breath in early stages
Symptoms of Both COVID-19 and the Flu:
And if your child is sick, seek guidance from your pediatrician or primary care provider. “Your pediatrician is your source of truth,” Noland said.
About Children’s of Alabama:
Since 1911, Children’s of Alabama has provided specialized medical care for ill and injured children, offering inpatient and outpatient services throughout central Alabama. Ranked among the best pediatric medical centers in the nation by U.S. News & World Report, Children’s provided care for youngsters from every county in Alabama, 45 other states and six foreign countries last year, representing more than 677,000 outpatient visits and more than 15,000 inpatient admissions. With more than 2 million square feet, Children’s is the third largest pediatric medical facility in the U.S. More information is available at childrensal.org.