HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — The director of Huntsville Hospital’s Fever and Flu Clinic, Kevin Paschal, says they have already started seeing patients with flu symptoms.
It is the second day of fall and with fall season, comes flu season, which might already be upon us.
“So we have started to see people with symptoms that could be the flu,” said Paschal. “We are testing a few more people for the flu than we might normally be this year, but it’s starting to ramp up. I can see it coming.”
Doctors and medical professionals are familiar with the flu virus, but this year is different because they will be dealing with the flu during a pandemic.
“Treating the flu during a pandemic, so definitely,” he said. “It’s going to be slightly different, but in the end, the way to prevent the spread of the flu and Coronavirus are very similar, most of them being the same.”
COVID-19 and the flu are both contagious respiratory illnesses with similar symptoms like cough, fever, and sore throat. They both have similar preventions as well.
“I think they just need to be vigilent,” said Paschal. “When people come into the clinic, we make sure they all have a mask. We make sure they use hand sanitizer. The more they follow those guidelines… have hand sanitizer on their person to use while they’re at the gas station or at the grocery store. I think those things can only help.”
Medical professionals are concerned if we experience a bad flu season, it could overwhelm hospitals with flu and Coronavirus patients, but with many already taking precautions, the amount of flu patients could be limited.
Paschal says it could go either way. “There’s a lot of reasons why people could think it’s bad,” he said. “I think it could go both directions. If people will follow the guidelines that we have set forth for Coronavirus, as in the masking, social distancing, hand washing, all those things… I think that will help curb the spread of the flu as well as Coronavirus.”
Either way, flu vaccines are highly recommended this year. Paschal says the more people we can keep out of the hospital because they got the flu vaccine, the better.
Huntsville Hospital’s Fever and Flu Clinic will be providing the flu vaccine, but details are yet to come.