The leaves are falling, there is a cold crisp in the air, and the smell of pumpkin spice fills local markets. Concurrently, the sniffles and coughing have started and you may feel a tingle in your throat or have spiked a fever. Cold and flu season is upon us yet again; but this year, with cases of COVID-19 increasing and many similar underlying symptoms, there is a need to differentiate between seasonal respiratory illnesses and COVID-19.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated that the overall burden of influenza for the 2016-2017 season was about 29 million influenza illnesses, 14 million influenza-associated medical visits, 500,000 influenza-related hospitalizations and 38,000 influenza-associated deaths. While the last flu season ended in April, it was ultimately aggravated by the rise of COVID-19, and current predictions indicate that protecting yourself this flu season is more important than ever.
Common Signs & Symptoms of COVID-19 and Flu
According to CDC, both COVID-19 and flu can have varying degrees of signs and symptoms, ranging from no symptoms (asymptomatic) to severe symptoms. Symptoms include:
Fever or feeling feverish/chills
Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
Runny or stuffy nose
Muscle pains or body aches
Vomiting and diarrhea (more common in children)
The Flu and COVID-19 Testing
Differentiating COVID-19 patients from those with Influenza A or B (flu) will be especially important during the fall and winter months. Both types of infections can have very similar symptoms, and it may not be possible in many cases to differentiate based on clinical history alone. BioReference is offering a multiplex test for flu and COVID-19, using a single sample. This allows for more rapid diagnosis, conserves critical testing supplies, and provides surveillance for flu and COVID-19. Identifying the correct infectious agent, especially in high risk populations, will allow for early treatment and appropriate management. Click here to learn more about the test.
If you are a healthcare provider, click here to become a client so you can begin ordering the Comprehensive Respiratory Panel, COVID-19 PCR molecular test or COVID-19 + Influenza combined multiplex test or any other diagnostic tests from BioReference today.
Sources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention