OPINION: A Fear of the Flu


Abbie Russman

Just because we are in a global pandemic, that does not mean that we can undermine the severity of the flu season. Photo courtesy of pexels.com

The flu season is an annual occurrence, much like the current coronavirus is speculated to be. Even a global pandemic should not hinder our preparation for this upcoming flu season– especially because the two illnesses can cause similar symptoms, according to Dr. Randell Wexner of the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.

Frankly, we should fear this flu season more than ever before. This is not necessarily because the flu is going to be worse than in previous years, but because we are combatting an illness which causes symptoms very similar to those of the flu.

Someone presenting symptoms of both the flu and the coronavirus (for example, a runny nose, a cough, etc.) might be inclined to assume it is the flu because the season is upon us instead of going to get tested for the coronavirus. This decision could be caused out of fear of having the coronavirus, a disbelief in the virus in general or any number of other reasons.

Isn’t this the sort of ignorance that has contributed to this virus’s devastation, anyway?

One thing is for certain: we need to keep wearing our masks. In all honesty, it is selfish not to wear one unless, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a person has an underlying health condition that makes it difficult for them to breathe. Yes, sometimes wearing a mask is an annoyance, but it is never an inconvenience when people’s lives are at risk- and they are.

Omaha should extend the mask mandate. Businesses need to stay open in every capacity possible so that unemployment rates decrease and our economy stabilizes, and if the mandate is not extended, people who think they have the flu but actually have the coronavirus will spread it; cases will go up and we will return to square one.

It is time to get serious about fighting for an end to the pandemic. Yes, the virus will never fully leave us, but we can take every step necessary to limit the number of positive cases and its spread.

The university is doing a great job monitoring cases, enforcing health and safety precautions, mandating masks, cleaning and being transparent about all of information. I feel safe and protected on campus. In order to keep campus open in certain capacities, we need to continue and even enforce more heavily and diligently these precautions and safety measures.

This upcoming flu season will certainly be one to remember. It will be unprecedented to say the least; it will most likely be one of the scariest yet.

If you or anyone you know has symptoms, seek a COVID-19 test first. If that is negative, then get tested for the flu. The pandemic has to be at the forefront, but we cannot ignore the flu season.

Keep trying to stay safe, and if you have not been already, it is never too late to start.