'It could be COVID-19; it could be flu': Local doctor addresses misconceptions about the two viruses

Posted at 10:13 PM, Nov 20, 2020

NORFOLK, Va. - As we enter the cold winter months, doctors want people to remain vigilant. They say we are officially in flu season - right in the middle of a pandemic.

There are some misconceptions between the two viruses they want to clear up. Dr. Tiffany Sibley is the Chief Medical Officer with Velocity Urgent Care.

"One vaccine should cover the other": This is just one of many false claims about the flu and COVID-19 Dr. Sibley hears from patients.

“I think there is so much misinformation out there,” says Kelly Morgott.

Another false claim being spread is that the flu shot can prevent you from getting COVID-19.

“Absolutely not,” says Dr. Sibley.

With winter around the corner, Dr. Sibley wants people to protect themselves.

"It's very important to be tested for COVID because of the pandemic, but it's also just as important to get that flu shot,” she adds.

People also need to be aware of the symptoms associated with the flu and the coronavirus.

News 3 asked some people in the community if they knew the difference between symptoms of COVID-19 and symptoms of the flu.

“It’s more of, like, not smelling. It’s like a cold but a little worse,” said Kaitlyn Colon.

"Shortness of breath seems to be a big symptom with COVID-19, sometimes with flu and less likely with the common cold,” said Dr. Sibley.

Emily Deschambault says, “I think of the fever, the body aches can be really similar... maybe sore throat.”

Dr. Sibley says the most common symptom seen in both the flu and COVID-19 is a fever. Due to the similarities, she says it’s best to see a doctor as soon as possible.

"They can absolutely test for both COVID and the flu at the same time,” said Dr. Sibley.

She says never put off care, especially now.

"The flu itself can have its own complications,” she adds.

Related: Coronavirus could lead to milder flu season if people vaccinate, doctors say

People say they aren't taking chances this year.

“In the situation we are in right now, I would definitely take things more seriously for myself and for my children,” said Jennifer Clemmons.

Dr. Sibley says, "Definitely wipe down surfaces to make sure everything stays clean."

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