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Viral flu and COVID19: Know the differences

It is that time of the year when the world is facing a severe crisis from a deadly pandemic. The COVID19 pandemic has imposed several challenges on the lifestyle and way of life. For the past few months all activities are stalled because the fear of the unknown deadly virus has taken a toll on human psychology as well. And as days are passing people are eagerly waiting for the vaccine which is yet to come. Though trials are still going on, there doesn’t seem to be any immediate respite.

Also, media platforms are providing contradicting information on COVID19 which is making the situation more complex and confusing. It is becoming difficult for people to identify the difference between information and misinformation and as a result, suspicion and doubt are growing. Another fear which is grappling and sending people into a state of shock is that the winter months are approaching when flu attacks like that of influenza are common in tropical countries.

Image: Facty Health

Now the question that arises is how will one distinguish between normal flu and COVID19? This is because both share the same symptoms and have similar effects. Having a flu during season change and especially in winters is a common phenomena for those with weak immunity. But differentiating between COVID19 and flu might get a little complicated for both doctors and patients alike.  Some renowned doctors shared their experience as to how people can stay safe during these trying times and be aware of symptoms.

Dr Ananda Bagchi, Senior Consultant Physician and Cardiologist at ILS Hospitals, states that these few months are extremely challenging for everyone because during the winter months, diseases such as H1N1 flu, influenza and other typical diseases show various symptoms which are similar to that of COVID19.

Dr Ananda Bagchi, Senior Consultant Physician and Cardiologist at ILS Hospitals

“It becomes difficult for us to distinguish between a normal flu and Covid because both show similar symptoms. The only way to distinguish between a flu and Covid is to identify for how many days the fever persists. Also, it is difficult to identify because in some cases, Covid patients are recovering almost normally without any complications which makes it difficult for doctors to identify Covid from other flu types. Also, these days a lot of patients are suffering from dengue and malaria simultaneously. Many such patients are admitted under my supervision as well. But the good thing is the recovery rate is good overall. However, proper protection should be taken by all to fight this disease,” says Dr Bagchi.

Speaking of vaccines he further informs, “It is important for people who have co-morbidity to stay extra safe and check their health conditions, as the ones with other problems such as lung infections, diabetes and kidney issues are at higher risk than others. This is why one important way to safeguard during the upcoming months would be to take vaccines such those for flu, influenza and pneumonia, which will lower the intensity of the infection. I have already advised this to my existing patients.

Dr Dipmalya Chatterjee, Plastic and Reconstructive surgeon at Balco Medical Center

Dr Dipmalya Chatterjee, Plastic and Reconstructive surgeon at Balco Medical Center says, “During winter months, upper respiratory tract symptoms like cough, cold and running nose are very common. Additionally, people get more prone to viral infections like common flu. People should be more careful and wear masks, maintain social distancing and take all the necessary precautions especially to be safe from Coronavirus infection because a Covid on top of usual upper respiratory symptoms might prove more dangerous and result in more severe symptoms than usual. We should keep emphasizing that Corona is here to stay and we should not take things lightly, yet”.

As can be deciphered from the experts’ opinion, it is now normal to panic during these times, but what is important is to take protection and be responsible and aware of the situation so that we keep ourselves and the ones around us safe.

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Sreeparna Bhattacharya

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