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Pandemic restrictions could shorten flu season – Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 2020-11-05 08:51:00 –

Pandemic restrictions could shorten flu season


As Colorado bid farewell to any hopes of a prolonged summer after a surprise snowstorm blanketed much of the state, Kara Williams has taken notice. “It hit me,” said Williams, 51, an empty nester in Carbondale. “It’s colder, the heat is on and I’m not sick.” The change of seasons usually results in predictable cold symptoms to which she has become accustomed several times a year. “Usually my colds start with a sore throat. I know I get sick when I get this. So I usually take Zicam to prevent that,” she said. “Then it goes from my throat to my nose, and usually lasts a week, unless it gets into my lungs. ”Williams realized she last had a cold in January, and she is sure it was due to the pandemic precautions she has taken. – including social distancing, staying away from large gatherings, wearing a mask when shopping, using hand sanitizer, and washing your hands constantly. that you don’t suffer from the seasonal sniffles, sneezes and coughs of prepandemia “It’s absolutely because of the precautions we take,” said Dr. Leana S. Wen, CNN medical analyst and emergency physician, during from a previous interview. “The same precautions that take protect against coronaviruses also protect against cold, flu and respiratory pathogens. ” “It’s the fact that you keep your distance, that you wear a mask, that you wash your hands more, that you are careful that someone can have it,” said Wen, who is a health professor. public at George Washington University. “In the past it might have been okay to sneeze and cough a bit and still go to work or school, and now that wouldn’t be okay,” a- she said. “It also reduces the risk of transmission.” Wen pointed to Australia’s milder flu season during its winter months as further indication that “the same precautions used to protect against the coronavirus also have reduces flu cases. “Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, noted that Australia had the fewest influenza cases” in memory “during its winter flu season in April to September. ”They almost, as they call it, had a sai her flu is missing, “Fauci said, speaking with Washington, DC, WTOP radio station on Sept. 17.” The theory is that all the precautions they took to contain the pandemic actually “averted a flu season.” Fauci and Wen, however, said now is not the time to get complacent. “Right now, there is a coronavirus storm all over the country,” Wen said. “The virus is on the rise in most parts of the country. We are entering a time of great concern for (COVID-19). Now is the time for us to curl up – which is the source of the most recent wave , these are the gatherings with family and friends. ”Go with what is available. If you have not yet received your flu shot, now is the time. The start of the flu season in the northern hemisphere is usually November, Wen said, and it’s best to get the vaccine before November. “If you look at the data for many years on flu shots, they’re not perfect,” Fauci said. “We know from the data. That influenza vaccines not only prevent infections; they prevent infected people from getting serious, progressive disease sometimes leading to hospitalization.” Fauci attributed the flu shot, wearing masks, avoiding crowds, staying physically distant and washing their hands frequently, like actions that might have protected people in the southern hemisphere this winter. “There is no vaccine for the coronavirus, but here is a vaccine for the flu, and there is is important for us to do the things we can, “Wen said.” With what is essentially the two illnesses of the flu and the coronavirus, get the vaccine to protect against at least one. “Stay Alert Since COVID-19, the flu and colds share some symptoms – including headaches, body aches and general discomfort,” Wen said it would be “extremely difficult to determine who has what, in particular. with the limited testing we have. “These respiratory pathogens have a seasonal pattern,” she said. They spread more when people congregate more indoors. Viruses can persist longer when there is less humidity in the air, and colder weather in winter means less humidity indoors. “Inside, with his inner circle during the cold Colorado winter, this is where Williams, who recently had the flu shot, plans to go out a lot.” It’s colder in here and I’m kidding. to my husband, “OK, we’re going into hibernation, that’s it,” “she said.” I think we are going “People should continue to adopt good public health hygiene practices that help prevent the colds and post-pandemic flu, too, Wen said, “like staying home when they feel sick, washing their hands frequently and making sure they’re up to date on their vaccines. ”

As Colorado bid farewell to any hopes of a prolonged summer after a surprise snowstorm blanketed much of the state, Kara Williams has taken notice.

“It hit me,” said Williams, 51, an empty nester in Carbondale. “It’s colder, the heat is on and I’m not sick.”

The change of seasons usually results in predictable cold symptoms to which she had become accustomed several times a year.

“Usually my cold starts with a sore throat, I know I get sick when I do. So I usually take Zicam to ward off it,” she says. “Then it goes from my throat to my nose, and usually lasts a week, unless it gets into my lungs.”

Williams realized she last had a cold in January, and she’s sure it was due to pandemic precautions she took – including social distancing, not going to large gatherings, wearing a mask when shopping, use hand sanitizer and wash hands. constantly.

If you also notice that you don’t suffer from the seasonal sniffles, sneezes, and coughs of pre-pandemic times, there is an explanation.

Social distancing also slows the spread of the flu

“It’s absolutely because of the precautions we take,” CNN medical analyst and emergency room doctor Dr Leana S. Wen said in a previous interview. “The same precautions that protect us against coronaviruses also protect against cold, flu, and respiratory pathogens.”

“It’s the fact that you keep your distance, that you wear a mask, that you wash your hands more, that you are on the lookout that someone might have the disease and not know it,” said Wen, who is professor of public health at George Washington. University.

“In the past it might have been okay to sneeze and cough a bit and go to work or school, and now that wouldn’t be okay,” she said. “It also reduces the risk of transmission.”

Wen pointed to Australia’s milder flu season during its winter months as further indication that “the same precautions used to protect against coronavirus have also reduced flu cases.”

Dr Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, noted that Australia had the fewest influenza cases “in memory” during its winter flu season, from April to September.

“They almost, as they call it, have had an absent flu season,” Fauci said, speaking with Washington, DC, WTOP radio station on Sept. 17. “The theory is that whatever precautions they took to contain the pandemic have effectively” averted a flu season. “

However, both Fauci and Wen have said now is not the time to get complacent.

“Right now, there is a coronavirus storm all over the country,” Wen said. “The virus is flaring up in most parts of the country. We are entering a time of great concern for (COVID-19). Now is the time for us to curl up – which is the source of the most recent vague, these are the gatherings with family and friends. “

Go with what’s available

If you haven’t already had a flu shot, now is the time. The start of the flu season in the northern hemisphere is usually November, Wen said, and it’s best to get the vaccine before November.

“If you look at the data for many years on flu shots, they’re not perfect,” Fauci said. “We know from the data that influenza vaccines not only prevent infections; they prevent infected people from getting serious, progressive disease, sometimes leading to hospitalization.”

Fauci credited the flu shot, wearing masks, avoiding crowds, keeping a distance physically and washing his hands frequently as the actions that may have protected people in the southern hemisphere this winter.

“There is no vaccine for the coronavirus, but here is a vaccine for the flu, and it is important for us to do the things that we can,” Wen said. “With what is basically the twindemics of the flu and the coronavirus, get the vaccine to protect against at least one.”

Stay vigilant

Since COVID-19, the flu and the common cold share some symptoms – including headaches, body aches and a general feeling of being unwell, Wen said it would be “extremely difficult to know who has what, especially with limited testing we have. “

“These respiratory pathogens have a seasonal pattern,” she said. “They spread more when people congregate more indoors. Viruses can persist longer when there is less humidity in the air, and colder weather in winter means less humidity in the air. ‘inside. “

Indoors with her entourage in the cold Colorado winter, Williams, who recently had the flu shot, plans to spend much of the coming cold and flu season, she said. declared.

“It’s colder in here and I joke to my husband, ‘OK, we’re going into hibernation, that’s it,” “she said. “I think we’re going to have a healthy winter.”

People should also maintain good public health hygiene practices that help prevent colds and post-pandemic flu, Wen said, “such as staying home when they are feeling sick, washing their hands frequently. and make sure they are up to date on their vaccines. “

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