How do we differentiate between influenza and corona… Global Health clarifies


Dr. Sylvie Briand, Director of the Department of Epidemiology and Pandemic Diseases at the World Health Organization, explained that influenza is very common, especially in the season, and symptoms are usually fever, headache and muscle aches, in addition to symptoms of upper respiratory infection such as sneezing and coughing.

Sense of smell and taste

In an interview with Vismita Gupta Smith, in episode 59 of the “Science in Five” program, which is broadcast by the World Health Organization on its official website and accounts on communication platforms, Dr. Briand said that Covid-19 disease shares the same symptoms, basically, but In addition, there are other specific symptoms such as loss of sense of smell and ability to taste, explaining that many, especially young people, have experienced these additional and specific symptoms of Covid-19.

But sometimes a sick person has very few symptoms, whether it’s the flu or COVID-19, it really depends on the level of immunity, Dr. Briand said.


Dr. Briand stressed that it is important to have sufficient knowledge that it is possible to prevent infection with influenza or Covid _ 19 by following precautionary measures that work for both, especially perseverance in washing hands, which comes first, followed by ventilation of crowded rooms and wearing protective masks if the window cannot be opened. In a crowded closed place, while adhering to the physical distancing distances.

Two vaccinations at the same time

Dr. Briand pointed out that the group most at risk of infection with influenza are the elderly, and people with underlying conditions such as chronic respiratory diseases, cancer and cardiovascular diseases, and these groups are similar to the groups most vulnerable to infection with Covid-19 disease.

But for the flu, pregnant women and babies are also more likely to get serious illnesses. Dr. Briand emphasized that it is safe to give both the flu and COVID-19 vaccines at the same time, as some scientific studies have shown that it is safe to get both vaccines at the same time. And she added, “But of course, the doctor should be consulted about the significance of taking the two vaccines.”

Dr. Briand added that there are many, many different influenza viruses and they actually change a lot. Therefore, it is very important to know the viruses prevailing in a particular environment so that the antigen of this virus can be taken to form the vaccine, explaining that for this reason there are 136 laboratories around the world for continuous monitoring of circulating viruses, in addition to holding a meeting of experts, twice a year, to determine what are Viruses prevalent in certain parts of the world.

Vaccines for both hemispheres

Dr. Briand said that two meetings are held to discuss the components of two influenza vaccines each year, one for the northern hemisphere and the other for the southern hemisphere, noting that the flu vaccine has been around for many decades, and it is a very safe vaccine.

But it is very important to hold expert meetings to determine the composition of the vaccine every year, to ensure that an appropriate component of the component vaccine is developed to ensure better protection from viruses circulating at a given time. Experts recommend the need to receive the vaccine in order to protect individuals in communities from severe influenza and the risk of death when the wave of influenza infection intensifies.

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