Local doctor says coronavirus precautions will also work to limit flu spread

Flu season approaches amid COVID pandemic

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - Flu season is quickly approaching, with signs popping up across the Tennessee Valley letting people know where they can get their vaccine, but how could the flu complicate our current coronavirus pandemic?

Dr. Ali Hassoun, an infectious disease specialist at Huntsville Hospital said the flu could make our current situation worse, or, on the other hand, our current situation could help limit the flu.

Hassoun said the flu and COVID spread the same way, so if we slow down one, we slow down both.

“If people listen to putting the thought of physical distancing, the masking, avoiding crowds, avoiding inclosed spaces as much as possible, hand hygiene, staying at home when they’re sick, talking to their doctors about it, get quarantined if you get exposed,” he said. “If they do this, and this should not be difficult, if they do this, we’re not only going to be able to prevent COVID, we’re actually going to be able to prevent the flu, and other viruses, as well.

Hassoun said countries in the Southern Hemisphere have not reported many flu cases or flu hospitalizations at all this year, because they are following the guideline to prevent COVID-19 that also work with the flu.

But, Hassoun said he still sees too many people not following coronavirus safety guidelines and worries as schools reopen and more events with big crowds start back up this could could cause another spike, and the consequences could be tremendous.

“The flu virus kicks in, or other viruses, you know there are a lot of other viruses here in the winter that can happen, in addition to bacterial pneumonia, COPD getting worse, we call it exacerbation,” he said. “If that comes all together, I guarantee you the health system would not be able to manage.”

That is obviously a very grim warning there but it is important to focus on the positive, we know what to do.

Hassoun also added that he has done some type of work everyday for the last 8 months and that he and others in the medical community are exhausted from the pandemic. He said he is worried about the nurses and doctors that are constantly being worn down by the stress of coronavirus.

He hopes people can work together to take precautions to keep each other safe and take some pressure off of the health care community.

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