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Last Updated on January 29, 2022 by BVN

Phyllis Kimber Wilcox | Black Voice News

Flu season is here and with the Omicron variant causing increasing spread of the virus, hospitalizations and staff shortages have also increased.   

According to Dr. Sylvia Gates Carlisle, Blacks are among the least vaccinated groups in the state. (source: lagrant.com)

“Omicron is spreading faster than any other COVID-19 variant,” said Dr. Sylvia Gates Carlisle, Operations Medical Director at Beaver Medical Group and Director of Practice Management Curriculum at UC Riverside Family Medicine Residency.

According to Carlisle, Blacks in California are among the least vaccinated groups in the state.

Dr. Jerry P. Abraham, Director of Kedren Vaccines in South Los Angeles stated,  “If you’re not vaccinated, get your shot as soon as possible. If you are eligible, get boosted. It can help increase your immunity almost immediately. Now’s also the time for parents and guardians to help get their eligible youth vaccinated and boosted,”  If you haven’t been vaccinated you can make an appointment by following this link.

Marks provide protection

“If you’re not vaccinated, get your shot as soon as possible. If you are eligible, get boosted. It can help increase your immunity almost immediately,” said  Dr. Jerry P. Abraham, Director of Kedren Vaccines in South Los Angeles (source: lagrant.com)

Masks are an important way to prevent infection. Using well-fitting medical grade masks (N95, KN95) is recommended. “Masking helps stop the spread of COVID-19 as well as the common cold and flu, so it’s important for people to continue to mask up, regardless of vaccination status, to protect ourselves and those around us,” said Dr. Gates. It is also important to take the recommended precautions to stay healthy. Personal safety measures include frequent hand washing, wearing a well-fitting mask, getting tested and staying home when sick.

This week, free masks began arriving at CVS, Rite Aid Costco, Walgreens and Albertsons locations across the country. More than 400 million non surgical N95 masks are being made available (three per person) by the Biden Administration. The masks, which are approved by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), are being released from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)Strategic National Stockpile. It is purported to be the largest deployment of personal protective equipment in U.S. history, according to the White House. 

By mid-February, masks will be made available to all health centers and health center programs that choose to order them according to HHS. 

Masks are an important way to prevent infection. Using well-fitting medical grade masks (N95, KN95) is recommended (vacovidsupplies.com).

Differences Between Cold, Flu and COVID-19 

According to Dr. Abraham, the difference between cold and flu symptoms and COVID-19 are difficult to distinguish because they are all respiratory illnesses, it is important to pay attention to symptoms as many overlap,” he said. “With the common cold, you typically don’t have a fever unless you are severely sick.

Overall, milder symptoms include a stuffy nose and sore throat…cough, fever, fatigue and muscle aches are common to both flu and COVID-19. Loss of smell is a classic indicator of having COVID-19 and is rarely seen with the common cold and flu,” 

If you feel ill you are encouraged to stay home. You are also encouraged to take a free Covid test that is being provided by the federal government. Follow this link to order.