TULSA, Okla. — "Tulsa ER & Hospital. This is Nikki how can I help you?"
Phone calls come in often as patients call and come in with symptoms of COVID-19. CLICK HERE to learn more about COVID-19 symptoms.
"It's just simple questions so we can get a baseline of whether you're likely to have COVID or not," said Nicole Weatherly, Tulsa ER & Hospital receptionist.
However, Covid-19 is not the only illness that physicians across Oklahoma are treating right now. They are also seeing a growing number of patients who are sick with the flu. CLICK HERE to learn more about flu symptoms.
"Body aches, fevers, chills; the things are worse with the flu but it's kind of variable with that," said Dr. Chris Simic, Emergency Medicine Physician at Tulsa ER & Hospital.
The Emergency Medicine Specialists at Tulsa ER & Hospital said it takes diagnostic testing to tell the difference between COVID and influenza. Their lab is a busy place these days, especially since the flu and COVID-19 are illnesses that show up with similar symptoms.
Both COVID-19 and the flu often begin with a similar checklist of symptoms:
- Body aches
"Typically with flu we see a lot higher fevers, that this like a sudden onset of much higher fevers, than what we have been seeing with COVID. Not that COVID, you can't have a fever, but the degree seems to be much higher with flu," according to Dr. Mark Blubaugh, Medical Director and physician at Tulsa ER & Hospital.
Dr. Blubaugh said only COVID-19 affects your ability to taste and smell. Also, just as COVID-19 can hit even harder when you think you are getting better, so can the flu. Some patients develop a post-influenza pneumonia that can progress rapidly.
"So what I will tell patients is, if you start to feel like you start getting better from the flu and then a few days later, you're having chest pain, high fevers, coughs, shortness of breath, you need to be re-evaluated," Dr. Blubaugh advised.
There are tests available for both the flu and the coronavirus that provide results for physicians in about fifteen minutes. It is important for patients and their physician to determine which illness because quarantine measures are required with a coronavirus case. In addition, contact tracing would be done to determine who may have been exposed at home and in the workplace.
When you are not sure which illness your are fighting, physicians recommend you come in and be tested so they can help you get back on the road to good health.
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