In recent months, many people in the country have been experiencing symptoms typically associated with the flu such as fever, coughing, and runny nose but with the country experiencing a spike in COVID-19 cases, these symptoms could also hint at the disease and should not be ignored.
This is according to Infectious Disease expert Dr. Loice Ombajo, who argues that it is difficult to determine flu symptoms from those of COVID-19 since the illnesses are both classified as upper respiratory tract infections.
“These are general features of upper respiratory tract information. It starts from the nose to the back of the throat, down the throat, and to the upper part of the airways,” Ombajo said during an interview on the Tonight Show.
“Upper respiratory tract infections are caused by different viruses and more recently what has been of interest is the virus causing COVID-19. Over the last week or so many hospitals have reported that people who present these symptoms have been found to have COVID-19.”
Ombajo similarly stated that should any person exhibit symptoms associated with upper respiratory infections, the best thing to do would be to self-isolate, in-order to reduce the chances of passing on the infection to others. She consequently clarified that, at this point in time, it is unknown if contracting the flu predisposes individuals to acquire COVID-19.
“But if someone has more than mild symptoms then they should get tested and the reason for this is if someone has a severe disease then we can offer the appropriate treatment,” she explained.
She also urged Kenyans not to ignore basic COVID-19 prevention protocols, especially the wearing of masks, which she labeled as one of the best methods to tame the spreading of the virus.
“The best thing we can do right now is to ensure that everybody has a mask, the mask protects you from getting possible infections from other people but it also protects other people in case you have an infection,” Ombajo explained.
The infectious disease expert also added that Kenyans should primarily avoid large gatherings but should they have no other option, they should hold the meetings in open spaces.
“For adults, it is important to know that there is a flu vaccine and it is vital to check in with healthcare providers to get an annual flu vaccine but for the immediate future let’s strive to hold meetings out in the open.”