Get a flu shot! If a patient has had a flu shot in time for immunity to build up, doctors can minimize flu as a possible cause and target Covid-19.
(Redlands, Calif.) A devastating convergence of Covid-19 and influenza could hit Southern California this winter, and there’s one important action everyone can take immediately to protect themselves and their families.
Get a flu shot. That will help doctors more quickly diagnose your illness and provide effective treatment should you get sick, one longtime Inland Empire physician said.
Dr. Albert Arteaga, president and founder of LaSalle Medical Associates, explained that early symptoms of the flu and Covid-19 are very similar. If a patient has had a flu shot in time for immunity to build up, doctors can minimize flu as a possible cause and target Covid-19.
LaSalle Medical Associates operates clinics in Fontana, Hesperia, Rialto, San Bernardino and Victorville.
“The flu comes in with fever and body aches,” Dr. Arteaga said. “You don’t feel like yourself. You feel run down, lacking energy, feeling bad. Not like yourself. Terrible. When you get the flu, you navigate through it and in a few days, you’re back to normal.
“The Covid infection starts exactly the same way. If you are in the middle of a pandemic and come down with symptoms that fit either case, you are now in a fix. You are more likely to have the flu, but will have to get tested, wait for results and confirm that you do or don’t have Covid.”
Depending on how serious of a flu epidemic hits us this winter, Dr. Arteaga said that physicians will be examining patients, asking themselves: “Is this Covid or just the flu? If it’s Covid, some measures of quarantine will have to be followed, and contract tracing.”
Doctors will be saying, “Yeah, it looks like the flu, but you’re going to need to get tested. … Hopefully, the test results come back quickly, he added.
The sooner Covid is diagnosed, the sooner life-saving measures can be taken, and getting the flu shot will help avoid confusion between the two diseases.
He also urged people to adhere to social distancing, wear masks, work from home and avoid social gatherings to protect themselves from Covid-19.
Dr. Arteaga is a nationally recognized expert on immunizations. In 2012, he was honored by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which selected him as California’s first “Childhood Immunization Champion.”
He dismissed the notion that the flu shot can cause the flu.
“Sometimes you feel slightly off, but it does not make people sick, he said. “That is nonsense. You could still catch the flu if you did not have enough time to build up immunity.”
That’s why now is the time to get vaccinated, he said.
“I got the flu shot. … “I believe in it, and I think you should get it.”
The LaSalle medical clinics are at 17577 Arrow Blvd. in Fontana, 1505 West 17th St. and 565 N. Mt. Vernon Ave. in San Bernardino, 790 Foothill Blvd, in Rialto, 14544 Seventh Street, in Victorville, and 16455 Main St. in Hesperia
For additional information about LaSalle Medical Associates, call (909) 890-0407 or go on line to lasallemedical.com.