By Sorayda Rivera
Student Life Editor
Graphics by Molly Swisher
Flu season is around the corner, and yet the country is still in the middle of a worldwide pandemic.
The world has fallen ill since the now not-so-novel coronavirus made its debut in March. People have not only lost jobs and homes, but also their loved ones.
The Tyler Junior College community, like the rest of the population, has taken steps in trying to combat the virus.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on its website that, “because of the COVID-19 pandemic, reducing the spread of respiratory illnesses, like flu, this fall and winter is more important than ever.”
COVID-19 and the flu are contagious respiratory illnesses that are caused by two different viruses.
Brandi Pate, nurse practitioner at the TJC on-campus clinic, said “the concern this year with the flu is the similarity of symptoms it shares with COVID-19.”
Some symptoms include fever, cough and shortness of breath. One symptom of COVID-19 different from the flu is it can cause someone to lose their sense of smell and/or taste, according to John Hopkins Medicine’s website.
Another concern Pate mentions is this year the health care field could become overburden “due to the increased risk of catching both diseases at once and will bring a challenge to health care due to the similar symptoms of each illness.”
Dr. Tom Cummins, chief medical officer for UT Health East Texas, said it is still too early to know the severity of this year’s flu season but “depending on how bad this strain of flu that comes around this year is, it could have magnifying effects for each other.”
Having the flu and the Coronavirus could mean double injury to the lungs and double injuries to the kidneys, Cummins added.
TJC has taken precautions to help prevent infection, but Pate also recommends ways to help reduce the burden of illness this flu season.
“Get your flu vaccination; stay at home if sick; cover your mouth and nose; practice good health habits and good handwashing,” Pate said.
While young people might not get severe flu symptoms, staying safe is important for the people the students come in contact with while sick.
“Even if the flu is mild when you’re a student age, for the people you come in contact with at the school — the staff, the faculty, people in the community, at church and other places — for them getting the flu can be a life-threatening event,” Cummins said.
Remember to keep those people in mind and continue to keep up vigilance against the flu, like it’s being done for COVID-19, Cummins said.
Experts throughout the years have expressed the need of getting a yearly flu shot. An important reason to get a flu shot is “to reduce your risk of flu illness,” Pate said.
The TJC Campus Clinic will have flu shots available for students at no cost at all.
The clinic will be making appointments for flu vaccinations this year. Students will call the clinic at (903) 510-3862 to set up an appointment time for the vaccination.
For more on how to stay safe this flu season, visit cdc.gov or hopkinsmedicine.org.
To learn more about what plans TJC has implemented or to know what to do if COVID-19 symptoms appear, visit tjc.edu/fall2020plan.