ROANOKE, Va. – In their most recent reporting, the Virginia Department of Health is not showing any influenza activity across the Commonwealth.
Last year at this time there was widespread activity in the state, and doctors are crediting the slow spread to coronavirus safeguards.
“It’s almost impossible to differentiate between symptoms related to COVID and symptoms related to influenza, in this time,” admitted Dr. Anthony Baffoe-Bonnie, Medical Director, Infection Prevention and Control, Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital.
Dr. Baffoe-Bonnie says symptoms are similar between the two with some people experiencing no symptoms at all while infected with COVID-19. That makes it incredibly difficult to determine on your own which illness you are infected with.
“While the initial symptoms may be similar, what it does in terms of putting people in the hospital and getting people sick enough to put people in the ICU and even leading into death is markedly more in COVID than influenza,” explained Dr. Baffoe-Bonnie.
When you develop your first symptom, he says testing is your best safeguard.
However, the things many Americans have grown accustomed to thanks to the coronavirus pandemic are also helping slow the spread: handwashing, social distancing and mask-wearing.
“At this point, vaccine uptake for influenza vaccine has been higher than in typical years,” stated Dr. Cynthia Morrow, Roanoke City & Allegheny Health District.
Flu shots have always been a safeguard against influenza.
Click here to learn more about the flu, according to the Virginia Department of Health.