Symptoms of influenza may overlap with symptoms of covid-19. Get a flu shot, doctor says

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By Viwe Ndongeni-Ntlebi Article publication time Apr 11, 2020

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As concerns grow over the new coronavirus, health department statistics on flu cases in South Africa show that up to 11,000 people die from the virus each year.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that worldwide influenza epidemics worldwide cause up to five million cases of serious disease and around 290,000 to 650,000 deaths annually.

The flu kills between 6,000 and 11,000 South Africans each year, according to the national health ministry. About 50% of these deaths occur in the elderly and about 30% in people infected with HIV.

Dr. Sivuyile Madikana says that “some of the symptoms and signs of the flu can be similar and overlap with Covid-19 and make it difficult for people and health workers to tell the difference. It is important to get the flu shot this season. ”

He added that the flu vaccine will protect people from the various forms of the flu virus this season. The vaccine can prevent or lessen the severity of the flu, but more importantly, it will help simplify the process of assessing patients and differentiating them from those with more serious illness.

Lee Callakoppen
, Senior Director of Bonitas Medical Fund, gives five facts about the flu:

1. Flu strains, like fashion, change every year

Influenza strains have a built-in survival mechanism, they mutate or change so that they defeat the body’s immune response. This is why every year the flu shots are updated, which means that last year won’t necessarily protect you this year.

2. Symptoms of the flu?

These include high temperatures, body pain, sore throat, fatigue, loss of appetite and are the same year after year. However, some strains of flu can make the symptoms last longer and be more severe. The flu can also cause headaches, muscle aches, vomiting and diarrhea. In people with weakened immune systems, the flu is even more severe.

3. The flu shot doesn’t give you the flu

According to the Center for Disease Control, a flu vaccine cannot cause the flu and severe allergic reactions to the flu vaccine are rare. However, if you are allergic to eggs, you should tell your doctor.

Influenza vaccines are currently manufactured either with influenza vaccine viruses that have been “inactivated” and are not infectious, or without influenza virus. The most common side effects of the vaccine are small amounts of pain, redness, tenderness or swelling around the injection site.

4. Protect yourself and your family

The flu shot reduces your chances of getting the flu and, if you get it, it will be milder. The vaccine trains your body to recognize and fight the flu. Most importantly, if you are vaccinated, you will protect others, through what is called “collective immunity”. This includes vulnerable family members such as small babies and the elderly as well as those who are immunocompromised.

5. Some of the reasons why people don’t vaccinate

There are a number of reasons, including the notion that “I’m not getting the flu”, “the vaccine isn’t working”, “it will hurt my arm” or “the vaccine will give me the flu”. However, there are very good clinical reasons why you should do this.

You can get the flu shot at Clicks, Dischem or Pick n Pay pharmacies during the lockout.



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