It’s COVID AND Flu Season! How Do We Stay Safe?

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Photo Courtesy of Maya Cienfuegos

Maya Cienfuegos along with other students at State High stay safe by following general safety rules.

Rufaida Rahman, Staff Writer

It’s that time of year again; flu season is back, but now with a bit of a twist. The merging of COVID-19 and the seasonal flu poses a double threat, so staying safe is now more crucial than ever. Telling the difference between them, and trying to stay away from both of these illnesses can be hard, so here are a few simple steps you can follow that may increase your safety. 

 

What’s The Difference?

The coronavirus and influenza are both respiratory illnesses with similar symptoms, so it may be tough to distinguish the difference, especially since both of these illnesses are affecting people at the same time. Many State High students are now more cautious about these illnesses than before.

“My whole family is very alert about the coronavirus now. We all got a cold once that had COVID-like symptoms, so we were all scared that it might have been the coronavirus at first,” freshman Maya Cienfuegos said. 

Distinctions between the two viruses can help tell the difference. Firstly, COVID-19 spreads faster than the flu. If one of your family members is ill, and it spreads to everyone around them faster than usual, it’s more likely to be COVID. Additionally, people who have the coronavirus may lose their sense of smell and taste, which is not a flu symptom. Coronavirus is also known to cause severe dyspnea (breathing problems) in contrast to the flu which has no such symptom. 

 

Masks & Social Distancing

Both the flu and COVID-19 are spread through germs that are in the droplets expelled when someone sneezes, coughs, or talks. Since wearing a mask prevents these droplets from going near others, it not only prevents the spread of coronavirus but the flu as well. Masks should not come into question when going to a public area, and it’s unnecessary for political views to influence one’s decision to wear a mask. Studies have shown that in 2020, the rate of people catching the flu has decreased immensely compared to previous years, which is directly related to extra precautions that are being taken as a result of COVID. 

“I think it’s extremely important to wear masks. I’ve seen many people who refuse to do so, which shouldn’t be acceptable. Wearing masks shouldn’t be political; it’s common sense and a matter of keeping others safe,” freshman Lily McEntaffer said. 

 

Hand Washing

Even though it doesn’t seem like a lot, washing your hands regularly is one of the best safety precautions that can be taken right now. People are constantly asked to be using sanitary products and washing their hands, but many don’t understand how immense an impact it has. Your face has many routes of infections (like your eyes and mouth), and if the virus somehow ends up on your hands, and you touch your face, it’s likely that you will get infected. If you easily forget to wash your hands, the possibility of obtaining the virus increases. 

Furthermore, the coronavirus attaches to cells. It has a layer around it that coats the actual pathogen, and when soap is used, that layer is killed, exposing the virus inside of it which later is also killed. Hand washing also prevents the spread of any strain of the flu. If you regularly wash your hands for at least 20 seconds, the possibility of obtaining the virus/flu decreases. 

“Washing my hands isn’t a problem for me,” said Cienfuegos, “but it’s easy to forget to wash it for a longer period of time since I usually don’t think about how long I have to wash them for.”

Both influenza and coronavirus are very similarly spread, so following these simple safety precautions can ensure the safety of yourself and others from both illnesses. 

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