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The New York Times: This Flu Season Is Different. Here’s How to Prepare

The New York Times recently spoke with infectious disease specialist Soniya Gandhi, MD, vice president of Medical Affairs and associate chief medical officer at Cedars-Sinai, about preparing for the return of flu season after a historically mild year.

Gandhi urged everyone—especially pregnant women, who are more vulnerable to flu complications—to "run out and get the flu vaccine immediately," to protect themselves and others from the virus. Expecting mothers get a double benefit from the immunization. They pass along antibodies from their shot and protect their unborn babies as well, Gandhi told The Times.

To avoid "being co-infected with two very serious illnesses," she also recommended vaccination against COVID-19.

Gandhi warned that the relaxing of COVID-19 precautions, which also help guard against flu, could allow influenza to spread more easily this season. "There’s a lot more commingling, kids are back in school, mask mandates have been lifted," she told The Times, advising everyone to stick with these preventive measures through the fall and winter.

The flu and COVID-19 share many symptoms, including fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, sore throat, runny nose, body aches, headache, vomiting and diarrhea. "The only way to distinguish reliably between the two illnesses is to get tested," Gandhi told The Times.

She suggested that anyone experiencing symptoms schedule a telemedicine visit with a doctor, who could "advise on next steps for testing" and prescribe antiviral medication to reduce flu symptoms, if needed. Gandhi also recommended drinking plenty of clear fluids, taking over-the-counter pain relievers and staying home until 24 hours after fever is gone.

Click here to read the complete article from The New York Times.