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Concerns about flu outbreak as COVID surge keeps doctors prepared for busy season – CBS Boston

BOSTON (CBS) – Symptoms feel, look, and sound like COVID. But this time, it’s the old-fashioned flu that is putting even more strain on already busy doctor’s offices.

“We have been operating at full capacity for the past few months because of COVID and because of all the other patients we are seeing,” said Dr Benjamin Milligan, Director of Emergency Medicine at Cambridge Health Alliance. “Now, we’re seeing a flu outbreak, plus there’s a staffing shortage.”

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Last year, CHA providers had no flu cases, he said. This season has been very different. “Fever, body aches, cough, runny nose, sore throat, really just feels lousy.”

Massachusetts General Hospital has 110 patients who have tested positive for the flu in the past two weeks. Twelve people were hospitalized. The state reports nearly 600.

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“The challenge, of course, is the overlap in symptoms,” said Dr. David Hooper, head of the Infection Control Unit at Massachusetts General Hospital. “The symptoms of COVID and flu can be almost the same. Now, we routinely, people with respiratory symptoms, we test for both,” he said.

Things were so busy at a pedestrian clinic in Natick on Wednesday that people couldn’t come in for routine checkups. “They said it was backed up there,” said John Restuccia, from Mendon. “They said they don’t know when I can get my physical.”

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Doctors are encouraging people to get the flu vaccine, in the hope that the shots can trigger another wave of spikes. They say the flu virus is transmitted in the same way as COVID, so washing your hands and wearing a mask helps prevent it, all the things we’ve been used to doing.

https://boston.cbslocal.com/2021/12/08/busy-flu-season-and-covid-surge/ Concerns about flu outbreak as COVID surge keeps doctors prepared for busy season – CBS Boston

JOE HERNANDEZ

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