Flu or COVID-19? How to tell the difference

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(Nexstar)- COVID-19 and flu can both cause fever, cough, and body aches. However, shortness of breath and loss of taste or smell are more common with the novel coronavirus than with the flu. 

Since both illnesses are contagious respiratory illnesses, hospital leaders are urging everyone eligible to get vaccinated against both viruses. And according to Odessa Regional Medical Center’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Rohith Saravanan, it is safe to get vaccinated against both illnesses at the same time.

“You don’t need to space them out…you can get them at the same time,” Saravanan said in a news conference Monday. 

“Do not forget your flu vaccine, the flu shot is widely available,” said Medical Center Hospital’s Chief Executive Officer Russell Tippen.

And while the flu was relatively unseen in 2020 amid mask mandates and lockdowns, hospital leaders say they expect to see a busy flu season this year. 

“The winter season is coming…we do see respiratory viruses during that time, flu will be one of them that we see this year. Let’s do our best to control it. We definitely do not want to find out what happens when we have two viruses raging in the community,” Saravanan said. 

If you’re feeling ill, hospital leaders say you should visit your trusted medical doctor as soon as possible for testing and treatment. 

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