Just "Flu" It

Published online: Nov 11, 2020 East Idaho Health
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POCATELLO -- It’s likely that flu viruses and the virus that causes COVID-19 will both spread this fall and winter states the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). With the possible overlap of these two illnesses, healthcare systems could be pinched for resources if a high number of patients with flu and patients with COVID-19 require hospitalization.

“We have the opportunity to vaccinate for the flu, says Daniel Snell, MD, Chief Medical Officer (CMO) at Portneuf Medical Center. “When looking at two potential viruses that can elevate hospitalization rates; it is important to remind the community a flu vaccination can help prevent the most severe forms of flu and reduced the risk of being admitted to an ICU with flu by 82 percent.”

At this time, there is no vaccine for COVID-19. The best way to prevent the spread and preserve hospitals’ ability to care for sick patients is to follow evidence-based guidelines from the CDC. Wear a mask over your nose and mouth when in public, physical distance in public, practice good hand hygiene and stay home when not feeling well.

While the flu is much less deadly than COVID-19, the flu can cause many of the same symptoms as COVID-19, including fever, cough, difficulty breathing, and even death. Statistics show that in just over seven months, COVID-19 has killed more Idahoans than the flu did in the past 11 years. Nationally, the CDC estimates that influenza has resulted in between 12,000 and 61,000 deaths annually in the U.S. since 2010. The CDC reports over 232,000 deaths from COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic this year.

“Prevention is the most important part of health care,” said Dr. Snell. “And we want you to stay healthy.”

At this time, it’s more important than ever for our communities to take the necessary precautions in order to keep Portneuf Medical Center and other hospitals below capacity, so that we can continue to take excellent care of our community.

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