CLEVELAND – This cold and flu season is expected to be a doozy. Not only will COVID-19 be a concern, but cold and flu are expected to make a comeback.
“We’re concerned about all respiratory viruses this year and because influenza will likely be more common than it was in the past and because we anticipate that COVID activity will pick up this fall as people re-congregate in schools and so on, I think it’s highly likely that there will be individuals who have both influenza and COVID or COVID and some other viral respiratory illness,” explained Susan Rehm, MD, infectious disease specialist with Cleveland Clinic.
Dr. Rehm said sorting out what’s making someone sick will be challenging because COVID, the flu and other respiratory illnesses have overlapping symptoms.
The good news is that testing has evolved and doctors can test for a variety of viruses to see what someone has.
She adds, it’s important to know what’s causing symptoms because you may be eligible for treatments designed to lessen the illness – like antiviral medications for COVID and flu.
“Particularly for people who have underlying medical problems, it’s important to contact your physician right away when you notice symptoms because there may be testing and treatment available,” she said.
Dr. Rehm said prevention is always better than treatment and vaccines are your best defense. She encourages everyone age six months and older to get vaccinated against flu and covid-19.