Flu Season 2020

Onslow Memorial Hospital is dedicated to your health and safety at all times. This flu season will be unlike any other due to the outbreak of the respiratory disease coronavirus/COVID-19. On this page we will post resources on how to stay safe this flu season, the difference between the flu and COVID-19, and what you should do if you think you have the flu.

It is important to get a flu shot to reduces the number of patients with the flu visiting healthcare systems. It is important that healthcare workers receive the flu shot to help reduce the spread of the flu from health care workers to patients. The flu shot reduces the risk of flu illness, hospitalizations, and deaths and it is an important means of prevention for pregnant women and those with chronic health conditions. It helps to protect others who are immunocompromised around you who cannot receive the flu shot.

Ways to prevent the flu:

  • Get vaccinated
  • Cough into elbows, cover your mouth when sneezing, etc.
  • Wash hands often with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • Stay home when you're sick
  • Stay away from people who are sick
  • Disinfect frequently touched surfaces in your home
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth

Differences between the flu and COVID-19:

  • The flu and COVID-19 are caused by different viruses.
  • COVID-19 spreads more easily in some patients and can cause more severe illnesses in some.
  • COVID-19 may take longer to show symptoms (as early as 2 days or as late as 14 days). With the flu, symptoms begin developing 1-4 days after infection.
  • With COVID-19, one may be contagious for a longer period of time (at least 10 days after infection). With the flu, one may be contagious the day prior to showing symptoms and for up to one week after symptoms develop.
  • There is a vaccine for the flu, but not one for COVID-19.
  • There is FDA approved treatment for the flu, but not for COVID-19.
  • COVID-19 and the flu have similar symptoms, except that COVID-19 can cause loss of taste/smell.

If you are concerned you have the flu, a test may be the only way to tell the difference between the flu and COVID-19 due to the similarity of symptoms. For more information on the difference between the flu and COVID-19, please visit the CDC here: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/symptoms/flu-vs-covid19.htm

Preventative Actions to Help Fight the Flu: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/pdf/freeresources/updated/everyday-preventive-actions-8.5x11.pdf

More information about the flu can be found on the CDC website: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/index.htm

This information has been gathered from Onslow Memorial Hospital's Infection Prevention Department, various Onslow Memorial Hospital providers, and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.