The last ten months have been very trying. I really do not need to remind anyone about the challenges the United States, as well as the world, have had with the COVID 19 pandemic.  We are now officially in the fall season and the specter of influenza is again upon us, only to complicate the entire picture of acute pulmonary illness.  It is extremely important to do everything we can to prevent the acquisition of influenza, especially this year.

Annually, we see 30,000 to 60,000 deaths from influenza in the United States.  This is a statistic that most people do not know.  There is no specific treatment for influenza, just as there is no proven specific treatment for COVID 19.  There are some medications, such as Tamiflu, which can modify the course of influenza illness, but only by shortening the course of illness by one or two days, and it must be given within the first 48 hours of symptoms.  This year when patients call the office with fever and cough, we will be COVID testing the majority.  The demand for COVID testing will most likely be substantial.  The local health system has informed us not to expect flu testing until further notice since the re-agents for the flu test are the same as the ones for COVID 19.

What this all boils down to is, we all need to be as safe as possible, not only from the coronavirus, but also from the influenza virus.