As the U.S. continues to battle the coronavirus, a new flu season is about to start.
The flu and the coronavirus have a lot in common, especially considering that people older than 65 are most at risk of getting a severe respiratory infection.
According to the CDC COVID-19 dashboard, the case-fatality ratio of COVID-19 in the U.S. is estimated to be 3.1%. The case fatality rate for influenza will obviously change from year to year. But news reports and the World Health Organization often estimate it at around 0.1%.
While the medical community is still learning about mortality from COVID-19, it does appear to be more deadly than the flu, and we likely won’t have a vaccine for months.
COVID-19 and flu magnitude
After the coronavirus hit the U.S. this year, the number of people dying of respiratory or pneumonia-like symptoms skyrocketed. At one point during the summer, nearly 16% of all deaths were due to pneumonia, influenza and COVID-19.
You can find the CDC chart that is updated daily here.
A new website called vaccinefinder.org lists places to get vaccinated across the U.S. The site can direct you to places for adult, child and travel vaccines.
The site also has extensive materials on the safety of vaccines and when to get them.
Tips for prevention
Fortunately all the things we’re doing to protect ourselves from the coronavirus help protect us from influenza.
The CDC recommends vaccination as the best way to battle influenza.
The harmful viruses are mainly spread when infected people cough or sneeze, releasing small, virus-containing droplets into the air. Masks are helpful to protect from breathing in harmful droplets.
Standard recommendations to prevent infection spread include:
Regular hand-washingCovering mouth and nose when coughing and sneezingAvoid touching your eyes, nose or mouthAvoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing
78% of workers say they wash their hands often.
Is it cold or the flu?
Sources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Kimberly-Clark Worldwide Inc., National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health Statistics, MIT
Source: Orange County Register