As we enter flu season this year during the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, it is more important than ever to protect yourself and others from the spread of illness by taking critical health, safety, and hygiene measures. Because both viruses can cause similar symptoms, it is also critical that patients understand the differences between the two illnesses and how to determine which one you or your family may have. You may be surprised to learn, however, that co-infection with both COVID-19 and the flu is also a possibility, which can make it even more challenging to self-diagnose.
The exceptional team of board-certified ER physicians and medical staff at iCare ER & Urgent Care are committed to providing rapid COVID-19 and flu testing, diagnosis, and symptom relief at our convenient locations in Frisco and Fort Worth, TX. Learn more about COVID-19 and the flu, including how to protect yourself and others from contracting the viruses this season and what to do should you be exposed to one or both.
How do I know if I have COVID-19 or the flu?
The symptoms of COVID-19 and the flu may be very similar in some cases, but the virus that causes each illness is different. COVID-19, which is caused by the novel virus SARS-CoV-2, can present asymptomatically or symptomatically, with symptoms ranging from absent to severe or even life-threatening. The flu, which is caused by a strain of the influenza virus, can also have a broad range of presentations. In many cases, the symptoms of flu and COVID-19 can mimic one another. Common symptoms shared by COVID-19 and the flu include:
- Shortness of breath
- Body aches
- Sore throat
The only definitive way to determine which virus you may have contracted is to be tested by a medical professional. Both of our iCare ER & Urgent Care locations in Frisco and Fort Worth, TX offer advanced, rapid, and reliable testing for COVID-19 and the flu. If you or one of your family members is experiencing symptoms you think may be related to either the flu or coronavirus, visit your nearest ER to get tested as soon as possible.
Can you have the flu and COVID at the same time?
Yes, it is possible to contract both COVID-19 and the flu simultaneously. As flu season approaches, it is likely that there will be more frequent instances of co-infection with both COVID-19 and the flu. For some patients, having both illnesses simultaneously does not cause more severe symptoms than expected, while others may experience significant complications whether they are infected with one virus or both. Because little is known about the effects of having COVID and the flu at the same time, it is critical that men, women, and children stay committed to proper safety measures to avoid exposing themselves or others to either virus. In particular, patients in high-risk categories (over 50 years of age, younger than five years of age, pregnant women, immune-compromised persons, etc.) should take extra precautions to prevent COVID-19 and/or flu exposure.
How can I avoid getting COVID-19 and the flu?
The widely available flu vaccine is highly effective at protecting patients from the flu virus. At iCare ER & Urgent Care, we offer affordable and convenient flu vaccinations in Fort Worth and Frisco with no need for an appointment. Because the flu vaccine may take up to two weeks to provide full protection, patients are encouraged to get their flu shot as early in the season as possible.
There is no available vaccine for COVID-19 yet, and the best way to prevent exposure and/or spread remains to follow the CDC’s guidelines as closely as possible. Some of the most beneficial things you can do to lower your risk of being exposed to COVID-19 include:
- Wash your hands often and thoroughly
- Use hand sanitizer
- Wear a mask
- Avoid close contact with persons outside your household
- Practice social distancing
- Clean and disinfect surfaces regularly
Fortunately, these practices are also effective at reducing the spread of the flu as well.
Can I get tested for both the flu and COVID-19 in North Texas?
Yes. If you or one of your family members is experiencing symptoms consistent with the flu and/or COVID-19, iCare ER & Urgent Care offers accurate testing for both viruses at either of our locations in Frisco and Fort Worth, TX. Don’t put yourself, your family, or others at risk; obtain a definitive diagnosis and appropriate care from our board-certified ER physicians with flu and COVID-19 testing today.