Local doctor talks flu season and COVID-19

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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — While local doctors continue to fight the pandemic, they are also warning that this year’s flu season will be harder than in the past.

Health experts are stressing the importance of this year’s flu vaccine because they want to prevent its spread as best as they can.

Maria Parris, a physician for Ascension Medical Group, said this flu season is going to be a hard one for medical professionals.

Parris said the Flu and COVID-19 share similar symptoms such as fever and respiratory issues.

She said the similarities in symptoms may make it harder for people to say if they have either virus.

Parris said she’s been seeing higher demand for this year’s flu vaccine.

“A lot more people that have never gotten the flu vaccine in the past are getting it this year,” Parris said. “Or they’ve already gotten it done and if they haven’t gotten it done, they’ve already said, ‘Yes, I am getting it this year, I don’t want to take a chance,’ and it makes so much more sense to do that. Be proactive, get it done sooner rather than later. It’s a good idea this year. ”

Parris said they hope with social distancing, increased handwashing and wearing facemasks, they’ll see fewer flu cases.

However, Parris said the combination of the two viruses is another reason to consider getting vaccinated.

“The combination of the two would be really, really devastating for most individuals because that’s putting these systems, all of these body systems, into a big power struggle and unfortunately, the outcomes aren’t very likely to be good,” Parris said.

Parris said a main difference between the two viruses is the treatment. The Flu does have medication to help fight the virus while the coronavirus only has treatment for symptoms.

Even though medication for the Flu is available, Parris still recommends people to get a Flu shot this year.

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