Health care providers are once again staring down the intersection between flu season and the coronavirus pandemic. The viruses share similar symptoms and methods of transmission. The United States largely escaped influenza last year, thanks to mask wearing, social distancing and other COVID-19 safety measures. But, much like the rapidly changing coronavirus, the A & B strands of the flu can mutate significantly in a short time, making it hard for makers of flu vaccines to include the right strains in the annual vaccine, which then impacts the severity of the season.
“Flu prevention is basically the same as COVID prevention,” said Dr. Leslie Kantor, a professor at Rutgers School of Public Health. “Stay outside when we can, we wear masks when we’re indoors, we wash our hands, we get vaccinated against both flu and COVID, we know we can reduce our chances of getting sick and of passing these diseases on to others.”