Hopefully, the smoke is now just a bad memory and we can start preparing for the 2020 flu season — and as with everything else this year, it will be different. Because of COVID-19, it will be even more important to get your seasonal flu shot this year. It could help avoid a nightmare scenario: Hospitals full treating both those suffering from severe effects of the flu and a second wave of COVID-19 patients.

In past years, we only needed to know the differences between the common cold and the more serious seasonal flu, which kills tens of thousands of people each year in the U.S. But this year there is COVID-19, which has many similarities with the seasonal flu. Both are contagious respiratory illnesses, (but caused by different viruses) and both are spread between people who are in close contact (within about six feet) and mainly by droplets made when people cough, sneeze or talk. 

What is going to make this season difficult is they also share common symptoms: Fever or feeling feverish/chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue (tiredness), sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle pain or body aches, headaches — while COVID-19 might also include change in or loss of taste or smell. So, if you exhibit any of these symptoms how do you know if you have a bad cold, the flu or COVID-19? And what should you do? 

This year if you experience any of the symptoms, even if you think it is just a cold or the flu, STAY HOME and call your healthcare provider so they can decide the necessary next steps and treatment. It is particularly important because COVID-19 is more contagious among certain age groups, may be contagious for a longer period, and can quickly and easily spread to a lot of people more than the flu can. 

We don’t know if this year’s flu vaccine will match the strains that will circulate in the U.S., but early indications from the Southern Hemisphere, which goes through its flu season during our summer, are encouraging. And because people are practicing social distancing, wearing masks and getting vaccinated for the flu in greater numbers, this year’s global flu levels are lower than expected. 

As we wait for more effective treatments and a safe and effective vaccine for COVID-19, we can do our part by getting a flu shot to protect ourselves and others, as well as continuing to scrub our hands, keep six feet apart and wear a mask. By following these practices, we can reduce the spread of both COVID-19 and the flu. And if we do, we could have an unexpectedly low level of flu cases and deaths in the United States which may help lessen the burden on hospitals and medical staffs during this COVID-19 pandemic.

To prepare for this flu season, Rite-Aid will be offering their annual flu shot clinic Thursday, Sept. 23, 10 a.m. to 1p.m. under the tent at the Mid-Columbia Senior Center. You can call the center to make a reservation or if you’re the spontaneous type or maybe a procrastinator, you can just drop by.

•••

In Welcome Back, Kotter (1975-1979), Vinnie Barbarino played by John Travolta in his first starring role, was one of the Sweathogs in Mr. Kotter’s remedial class. For this week’s “Remember When” question, when he was annoyed and couldn’t think of a good come back, what was his favorite insult? Email your answer to mcseniorcenter@gmail.com, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or mail it with a 30-foot rubber hose.

C.W. McCall, was best remembered for his 1976  No. 1 hit “Convoy,” which told the story of rebellious truckers including “Rubber Duck,” “Pig Pen,” “Sodbuster” and “Chicken Coop” driving their rigs cross country. I received correct answers from Kathie Alley, Barbara Cadwell, Dave Lutgens, Rhonda Spies, Kim Birge, Rusti Starr (who I missed last week), Sandra Fritz and Jim Ayres, who is this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket and, as an old trucker, still has a Cobra 25LDT CB radio. 

 

•••

Well, it’s been another week, seeing if I can keep from losing my hearing aid when taking off my face mask. Until we meet again, everyone has a story to tell if you just take the time to listen. 

•••

“I don’t have many regrets. What’s done is done — you just move on, keep busy, be kind to people, and try not to hold a grudge.” — Eulah Schardt, one of the stars of the 2018 documentary Lives Well Lived

•••

The Dalles Meals-on-Wheels daily menus. If you would like to pick up a meal at noon, call 541-298-8333 before 10:30 a.m.

MENU

Thursday (17): Shredded Beef Burrito

Friday (18): Ham and Sweet Potatoes

Monday (21): Creamed Chicken

Tuesday (22): Chicken Fried Steak

Wednesday (23): Biscuit Gravy with Scrambled Eggs

Recommended for you