Flu season this year looks very different as it coincides with the COVID 19 pandemic. As you begin to prepare for flu season, it is good to know the difference between COVID-19 and the flu, and what you can do to stay safe.
In some ways, COVID-19 is similar to the flu:
- Both COVID-19 and the flu cause respiratory disease in people who get sick.
- Both are spread the same way, via small droplets from the nose and mouth.
- Neither one is spread through the air over long distances and times, unlike a disease like the measles.
However, there are some key differences between COVID-19 and the flu:
- COVID-19 does not appear to transmit as efficiently as influenza. Only those with symptoms seem to be mainly spreading the disease. This means that when people with symptoms are isolated, controlling spread is possible.
- We currently have no specific vaccine or treatment for COVID-19.
- COVID-19 causes severe disease in a higher percentage of cases than seasonal influenza. Estimates of mortality on average range from about 1-2 deaths per 100 people infected. By comparison, seasonal influenza is 1 in every 1000 who are infected.
- Because COVID-19 can cause such a serious illness, it is critical to keep it from spreading by having people with a cough or fever stay home and away from others.
The same steps can be taken to prevent the spread of both the flu and COVID-19:
- Wash your hands often and use hand sanitizer when you can’t wash your hands.
- Stay 2 metres away from others.
- Wear a mask when you are in public.
- Stay home when you feel unwell.