Is that flu or COVID? Hard to tell by symptoms alone – DOH | Inquirer News
Testing is still key

Is that flu or COVID? Hard to tell by symptoms alone – DOH

By: - Reporter / @santostinaINQ
/ 05:02 AM January 05, 2022

MANILA, Philippines — Are you experiencing symptoms but not sure if it’s COVID-19 or just the common flu? There’s only one way to find out: Have yourself tested.

This was the advice of the Department of Health (DOH) as it pointed out that it was difficult to tell by symptoms alone what causes one’s infection.

According to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), among the symptoms of flu are fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches, and fatigue — which are highly identical to COVID-19 symptoms.


“The symptoms are generally similar for COVID-19 infection whether Delta or Omicron variant, or even with regular flu,” the DOH said. “So, once you have symptoms, it is best to test to confirm what you have.”


Immediately isolate

It also advised those experiencing symptoms to immediately isolate themselves while waiting for the test results. If a person has been exposed to a suspect, probable, or confirmed COVID-19 case, he or she must go into quarantine for seven days (if vaccinated) or for 14 days (if not vaccinated), it added.

The DOH said RT-PCR test may be taken by those who have symptoms. Those without symptoms must wait until the fifth day of exposure before testing, for more reliable test results.

The DOH issued the advisory amid social media posts claiming that there are differences in the symptoms of COVID-19 Delta and Omicron variants, and influenza.

It also encouraged the public to have themselves vaccinated against the flu and pneumonia to prevent additional complications from COVID-19.

“I’m advising everybody, because this is the flu season, aside from COVID-19 vaccine, get anti pneumonia and anti-flu vaccines so we can prevent these diseases,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said in a TV interview.

The health department likewise encouraged the public to seek professional help through telemedicine services.


‘Not unusual’

Vergeire allayed fears that two or multiple infections may affect one person, following a report that Israel recorded its first case of “flurona,” or co-infection of COVID-19 and influenza. “We don’t have to panic,” she said, adding that co-infection is not unusual as there are other illnesses prevailing in the country.

Dr. Edsel Salvana, a member of the DOH Technical Advisory Group, affirmed Vergeire’s statement, saying co-infection is “an unfortunate confluence of events.”

“This is actually not unusual. Our very first COVID death in the Philippines back in January 2020, a Chinese national, had both Influenza B and coronavirus and he also had streptococcus pneumonia,” Salvana said in a press briefing on Monday, adding:

“[I]t’s an unfortunate confluence of events when a person was exposed to two pathogens and of course there is a relationship with that if you have comorbid conditions, like diabetes or hypertension. But it’s not unusual to see co-infections in these cases.”

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Meanwhile, the DOH clarified that Delmicron is not a new COVID-19 variant but refers to the phenomenon of increasing COVID-19 cases in an area brought about by the Delta and the Omicron variants.

TAGS: DoH, flu symptoms

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