LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — A CDC report showed that the last flu season was mild and COVID-19 prevention measures may have helped fight both viruses.
Now, the state health department is prepared to see larger numbers of both.
When you feel symptoms like a cough, headache, fever, or a sore throat you might just think you have a cold— but Dr. Jennifer Dillaha, Director of the Arkansas Health Department, said that you can't rule out something more serious.
Dr. Dillaha said that both the flu and COVID-19 can have similar symptoms.
"The covid symptoms tend to be a little bit slower onset," said Dr. Dillaha. “People who get the flu, sometimes it comes on very suddenly, they just feel like they've been hit by a Mack truck.”
Our immunity to flu has become lower than normal right now, and as the seasons change, we could see a stronger flu season this year.
“I anticipate from this point on we'll begin to see an increase in the number of flu cases,” said Dr. Dillaha. “We already have early indicators that we will see a trend in that regard.”
Although there has been a downward trend right in COVID-19 cases, she said that it may not continue.
“We anticipate that if a new variant begins to circulate, we may see an increase in cases. But that remains to be seen,” said Dr. Dillaha,
Keeping a close eye on what's happening in other parts of the world has helped health leaders like Dr. Dillaha prepare for what we can expect.
“It's been very helpful over time to pay attention to what's happening in the U.K. So, we could potentially see additional rises in covid cases as the variants that are circulating shift,” she added.
Dr. Dillaha said that since winter is not here yet, now is the time to take action to prevent yourself from getting any respiratory virus.
The health department will be offering free vaccines for both the flu and COVID-19.