Is It a Cold, Flu or COVID-19?
17 November, 2022 by Dr. All
With mask-wearing no longer mandated, it seems like seasonal illnesses such as colds, flu and stomach viruses are making a comeback. Is that really the case, or have we all just become more sensitive to sicknesses because of COVID-19?
The fact is, house call doctor has seen an increase in flu cases since June 2022 after the relaxation of rules aimed at containing the spread of COVID-19. We asked Dr Lin Diyang, an experienced general practitioner doctor and Medical Director at Atlas Associates Clinic to weigh in on the situation.
Why do we seem to see more people falling sick this year?
Dr: When the pandemic descended, rules were put in place to help everyone fend off COVID-19 by adopting measures such as masking and social distancing. Those who were feeling unwell also took precautionary measures to prevent close contact with others. As a result, the possibility of falling sick was reduced and common illnesses like the flu were kept at bay. With the relaxation of measures, there is an increased transmission and in turn, more people becoming unwell.
How do you differentiate influenza and Covid-19?
Dr: As the symptoms of flu and COVID-19 are largely similar, it is difficult to tell them apart by looking at the symptoms alone without testing. Furthermore, it is possible for a person to get both influenza and COVID-19 concurrently. Both are contagious and can be spread when tiny droplets containing the virus are inhaled from an infected patient, which is typically spread via the nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing. It should be noted that asymptomatic individuals can also spread the COVID-19 virus. The easiest way is to do an Antigen Rapid Test (ART) to eliminate the possibility of contracting COVID-19.
Has COVID-19 and the change in lifestyle affected our immune system?
Dr: I understand that many people fear that our immune system has weakened due to staying home or being isolated for a long period of time – but there’s no basis for this. Every day, we are all exposed to bacteria and viruses that keep our immune systems active. After the past years and multiple advisories to monitor flu-like symptoms, we are perhaps more mindful and aware of such ailments that may present.
What can people do to protect themselves from influenza?
The same prevention methods for COVID-19 apply to seasonal illnesses such as influenza. Getting an influenza vaccine annually will lower your risk of getting infected or having severe symptoms. Other self-prevention methods include:
Most healthy children and adults will recover fully from influenza by taking medications and having plenty of fluids and rest.
If you are feeling unwell and require medical attention, teleconsultation can be carried out at your convenience with greater safety measures. You may find out more here. Otherwise, please visit your nearby corporate insurance clinic or you may reach out to us on Whatsapp or via the contact form.