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Health experts encourage flu vaccinations during pandemic

Doctors say it's easy to confuse the symptoms of the flu and COVID-19 as we approach flu season.

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Students in the Tennessee Valley have been learning virtually for a few weeks now, and starting Tuesday, they will be back in-person.

Flu season is right around the corner, and health experts are urging parents to get their children vaccinated.

"It's Fall, Winter; that's when flu hits in really hard. So, this year more than any other year we need to vaccinate against flu for sure," says Primary Care Pediatrics & Family Medicine Pediatrician, Dr. Shraddha Shrestha, MD.

Health experts say the flu season could start as early as October and end as late as March or April. Dr. Shrestha says children can get the flu shot as young as six months.

"So everybody who is six months and older, who don't have any contrary indication to get flu shots, should get flu shot this year for sure," she says.

Huntsville Hospital Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Ali Hassoun, MD says getting the flu vaccination can help reduce the chance of confusion between COVID-19 and other viruses.

"All of them to start with will be with runny nose, sore throat, aching, fever - some of them. And these are very common for all respiratory viruses, as well as some of the bacteria and pneumonia," says Hassoun.

Dr. Hassoun recommends that adults should also get their flu vaccination. "It's not going to be 100 percent. If you can prevent 50 percent, and reduce the chances of infection, it's really going to help us and help the community in managing these types of infections," he says.

As we approach flu season, health experts also encourage people to continue to take the simple steps by wearing a mask in public, and washing one's hands consistently. 

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