BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - Going into flu season, it’s important to keep your guard up to protect yourself and your loved ones. Memorial Hospital family nurse practitioner Gary Porter expressed the importance to get the annual flu vaccination. Based on research, both influenza and COVID-19 symptoms can be very similar.
“It is important that the patients do try to lessen the capabilities of them contracting the flu by getting their annual flu vaccine,” Porter said. “We do have respiratory clinics available that can test for both.”
If you do start to notice any symptoms of either the flu or COVID-19, Porter encourages you to get tested right away at a respiratory location.
This flu season may look a little different than previous years but very similar to the way COVID-19 has been treated. Porter said both are viral infections, but you can lessen your chances of contracting one.
“If we can vaccinate people, then that would kind of give us an idea if we can eliminate the flu versus the COVID-19 by getting your annual flu vaccine,” he said.
Porter wants people to understand the vaccine does not infect you with the flu and it doesn’t clear you from contracting it, but it does reduce the risk of the illnesses.
“When you get the flu vaccine, it usually takes up to two weeks for your body to develop the antibody to the flu vaccine,” Porter said. “So between that two-week period, you can very well come infected if you’ve been exposed.”
Flu vaccinations are done at respiratory locations and patients are greeted with a temperature check before entering any Memorial clinic. If a patient fails the screening, he or she will be evaluated at one of the curbside sites.
“At that location, they can be swabbed for the flu in addition to COVID-19 depending on their symptoms. If you or any one of your family members develop any symptoms, it’s important for you to contact your health care provider or go to one of our respiratory locations,” Porter said.
Porter recommends vitamins both C and D, along with zinc to build your immune system to help fight against any infection.