PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — Doctors say flu vaccines will be critical this year to reduce confusion about whether you're experiencing flu or COVID-19 symptoms.
A runny or stuffy nose, cough, fever, and difficulty breathing sound like COVID-19 symptoms, but they're also flu symptoms.
That's why doctors say the best way to rule out the flu if you're sick is to get vaccinated.
Vaccines are already available for the flu season which typically peaks in October and November and runs through March of next year.
"It is more important this year because it's complicated by the presence of the COVID," said Dr. Shady Salib, Chief of Staff at Palm Beach Gardens Medical Center.
The symptoms of the flu and COVID-19 are very similar, but Dr. Salib said the one difference is that COVID-19 gives higher fever and you can experience a change in or loss of taste or smell.
Dr. Salib said getting the flu vaccine will help doctors better assess their patients and potentially rule out the flu.
"Imagine we get the patient. We don't know if it's corona infection or COVID infection or the flu, and it turns out the patient has both. This can be catastrophic in many patients, especially the older population," Dr. Salib said.
Dr. Salib said you can still get the flu even if you the vaccines, but typically your symptoms will be less severe.
Getting the flu shot early will still protect you for the entire season, Dr. Salib said.