Cold, flu season may be less severe due to COVID-19 mitigation efforts

“The steps we do to prevent COVID will also prevent the spread of influenza as well as common colds,” said Dr. Jason Mitchell, chief medical officer at Presbyterian. “And so if we can really continue to wash our hands, masks and socially distance, we will see less infection in other illnesses as well. I think that as we emerge from COVID, we’re looking forward to a vaccine when it comes, many people will continue these habits.”

However, there are still concerns.

“One of the challenges we’re going to have this fall, is it’s going to be very hard to tell a common cold or influenza from COVID, right? Because the symptoms are really identical,” Dr. Mitchell said. 

To avoid the confusion, Dr. Mitchell said people should do everything they can to avoid getting sick. That includes getting the flue vaccine.

“I think it’s really important to know, the flu immunization is very, very, very safe,” He said. “We’ve been administering for a long time.”

Flu season usually starts around October. Dr. Mitchell said Presbyterian is already preparing.

“The thing healthcare systems are planning on is how can we make it easy for people to get triage, how can we make it easy for people to get care so that if you do get a common cold,” he said. “We can make sure it’s not COVID and make sure that you’re safe.”

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