Winter is Upon Us, Enter Flu Season
Joe Whiteman, director of safety services 11-2020
As if we do not already have our plates full dealing with the effects and hazards of COVID-19, the winter months are here and bringing with it, flu season. It’s important that we get out in front of this by talking about the similarities and differences between the two. As you will see, the symptoms of the traditional flu are much the same as those of COVID-19. Where we can make inroads is understanding the few differences, as well as the precautionary measures that can be taken to minimize the confusion and ensure quick and proper mitigating action.
- Head and body aches
- Fever and cough
- Shortness of breath
- Stuffy or runny nose
- Sore throat
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- With COVID-19 you may experience a loss of taste or smell
- Flu symptoms show up after exposure to another positive individual between 1-4 days whereas COVID-19 can take anywhere between 2-14 days.
- With COVID-19 you may experience red, swollen eyes and skin rashes.
- Flu Symptoms tend to have a rapid onset of illness with high fever and severe body aches.
- COVID-19 has a slower onset of symptoms with mild headaches, body aches and fever.
COVID-19 symptoms last much longer than the flu, weeks to months as opposed to a few days. Although there are some differences between the two, they tend to be on the subjective side and leave much to interpretation. Your best bet is to treat any employee exhibiting the abovementioned symptoms as if it is COVID-19. Have the employee tested, and follow CDC and company COVID-19 policies and guidelines. If you have not already taken advantage of ASCC’s COVID-19 resources page, there are some great tools there to guide you through this process.
Fortunately for the flu, the biggest difference between it and COVID-19 is an available vaccine. Although not a 100% guarantee you will not contract the flu, getting the flu vaccine has shown in many cases to reduce the severity of flu symptoms if contracted. Take the time to talk with your employees. Remind them again about the symptoms of both the flu and COVID-19. Encourage them to always self-report the moment they are feeling any sort of symptoms to allow proper control and protection of the situation. And encourage everyone to get their flu vaccine this season!