FILE - In this Feb. 7, 2018 file photo, a nurse prepares a flu shot at the Salvation Army in Atlanta. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

Doctors brace for viral overload between cold and flu season and COVID-19

COVID-19 testing centres could be overloaded this winter as symptoms can be similar between the three illnesses

The president of the Canadian Medical Association is warning that the collision of COVID-19 and cold and flu season could bring a new host of health-care challenges when the cold weather sets in.

Dr. Sandy Buchman says given the overlap in symptoms, it can be hard for doctors to distinguish the sniffles from the deadly disease.

Buchman says COVID-19 testing centres could be overloaded this winter between a rise in cold and flu cases and a possible second wave of the novel coronavirus.

Canada’s chief public health officer Theresa Tam told reporters last week that officials are working to help hospitals prepare for an anticipated convergence of viral activity.

Buchman says many COVID-19 hygiene habits — such as hand-washing, physical distancing and wearing masks — can reduce people’s risks of contracting the common cold or flu.

He says it’s all the more important that Canadians get their flu vaccine this year, but patients should expect longer wait times given that capacity will be limited by COVID-19 restrictions.

READ MORE: Pandemic could be driving more parents to get on board with flu shot: study

The Canadian Press


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