Masks and social distancing could slow the spread of the flu

Flu season is fast approaching. And you've probably heard concerns that a bad flu season during the pandemic will cause a "twindemic."

But there is also hope that social distancing and mask-wearing could keep the lid on flu cases.

There are a lot of similarities between the flu and COVID-19 like the symptoms, the severity, and how they spread.

But doctors think they're also similar in how we can slow them down.

"We know these work very well to limit the spread if you cough or sneeze with a mask on. But also someone else coughs, you won't breathe it in."

Dr. Janice Johnston is the medical director of Redirect Health based in Scottsdale.

She says a "twindemic" could overwhelm hospitals and cost lives. Plus, patients could get both viruses at the same time.

"The other thing we are worried about is if they got the flu and COVID-19 at the same time. We don't know what that will happen so they could absolutely overwhelm your system."

But there is new research from the World Health Organization that masks can slow the flu, just like COVID-19.

Plus, cases were down in Australia, which just finished its flu season down under.

"They are definitely following strict masking and social distancing rules. So it seems like it's made a major impact and I hope it will be the same here, too."

Some masks work better than others. The top of the line is the N95.

But Dr. Johnston says surgical masks and cloth masks should also work well. And she urges everyone to get the flu shot now before the season peaks during the holidays.


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