Flu season, a challenge to Covid-19 detection

Photo courtesy of Mark Perandos

HEALTH officials in Davao Region saw a huge challenge in detecting individuals with Covid-19 this "flu season."

Department of Health-Davao Region (DOH-Davao) Director Dr. Annabelle Yumang said on Wednesday, October 21, during a virtual presser that Covid-19 and influenza, commonly known as the flu, have almost similar signs and symptoms.

According to a previous report, DOH said in a statement that flu season starts in October and peaks from January to February when temperature drops.

"Tinuod nga challenge nato na karon nga naa ta'y flu season. Usa kini nga nakita nato nga naa'y parehas nga simtomas nga parehas satong Covid-19. Labaw na katong ginatawag nato nga influenza-like symptoms (It is challenging for us to detect Covid-19 considering we are in the flu season. Covid-19 has flu-like symptoms)," Yumang said during the One Davao on Covid-19 virtual presser.

According to the DOH, signs and symptoms of flu are fever of at least 38 degrees Celsius, headache, runny nose, sore throat, cough or other respiratory manifestations, and may or may not have muscle or joint pains.

DOH said the most common symptoms of Covid-19 are fever, tiredness and dry cough. Some patients may experience aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhea. Patients usually have mild symptoms that start gradually. While most patients recover without needing any special treatment. Only around 1 of 6 patients manifest with difficulty breathing and become seriously ill.

With these almost similar symptoms, Yumang reminded the public to take extra precautions to avoid contracting and spreading the virus by observing the imposed minimum health standards. These include two-meter physical distancing, wearing face masks and face shields in public areas, and frequent handwashing of soap and water.

She said the public is reminded to stay home most of the time, as it is the best way to curb the spread of the virus.

She also encouraged the public to report to health authorities if they manifest flu-like symptoms such as cough and body pains for immediate intervention.

Dr. Reden Bersaldo, action officer of the Davao Oriental Provincial Task Force on Covid-19, for his part, said there is a confusion between Covid-19 and "ordinary flu," considering the cold weather brought about by frequent rains.

Bersaldo said the local government units must strengthen its Covid-19 response, particularly in imposing measures to curb its further transmission.

He added a simple symptom of flu must not be left unattended as it might lead to transmission.

Bersaldo said Davao Oriental, as part of their Covid-19 action plan, will be doing extensive risk testing activities in the entire province.

"We will be doing extensive risk testing activities sa tibuok probinsya sa Davao Oriental (in the entire Davao Oriental province) to rule out possibilities of transmission within the community," he said.


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