COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- Southern Colorado health experts are sounding the alarm about a severe flu season after two years of strikingly low influenza levels.
Doctors are predicting an early flu start, and they're also bracing for a potentially severe season. Australia's flu season, which helps doctors get a sense of trends and cases, shows an early and serious start. Those precautions we've taken to protect against COVID-19, such as masking, social distancing, and gathering outdoors when possible, have all but disappeared in year three of the pandemic.
"It is kind of urgent that we take this very seriously and start vaccinating earlier," says Carmen Aguirre, a physician assistant with Optum Colorado Springs.
While the flu is not Coronavirus, it can pose serious risks, especially for the elderly and those with other health issues. This is why Optum Colorado Springs is encouraging seniors to get a flu shot now.
"A lot of people are getting their shots earlier," says Aguirre. "Especially the elderly, 65 and older. Nobody wants to get another respiratory condition that can get them into the hospital."
And it's important to know the difference between COVID and the flu because they will be treated differently if you get sick.
"They are very, very similar in many ways," says Aguirre. "The usual symptoms of a runny nose a sore throat, fever, body aches, chills sometimes gastrointestinal symptoms like diarrhea and nausea can also affect people. So very similar between COVID and flu symptoms, but the only way to differentiate is testing."
If you are looking to find a flu shot in your area, click here.