Doctor explains how to handle cold, flu symptoms during COVID-19 pandemic

Doctor explains how to handle cold, flu symptoms during COVID-19 pandemic
Posted at 8:42 AM, Oct 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-16 11:42:45-04

As we head into cold and flu season, you can expect things will be handled differently at workplaces, schools, day cares and medical offices because of COVID-19.

Anyone with symptoms like a runny nose, a cough or sneezing will likely be asked to stay home.

“So, I think there's going to be a requirement for any of these symptoms for employee health at the workplace to take a larger role in screening patients probably a lot more testing,” said Dr. Scott Joy, Chief Medical Officer at Englewood Primary Care.

Joy spoke with us about how people should handle these symptoms during the COVID-19 pandemic. He recommends staying home for 24 hours when you have a cold without a fever.

If you have a fever, isolate for up to six days or until you've been fever free for a full 24 hours. If you're coughing or sneezing more than four times in an hour, you should probably stay home and see a doctor.

“We haven't had a metric like that before, so we're going to experiment with that data point and see what it does to our workforce and our clinic infection control over this season,” said Joy.

Joy also reminds people to get the flu shot.

A study in the New England Journal of Medicine found people who got the vaccine had 25% fewer episodes of upper respiratory infections than those who didn't. That means fewer sick days from work and fewer doctor visits.

The hope is that COVID-19 measures like handwashing, mask wearing and watching your distance will lead to fewer respiratory infections overall. But should you experience those symptoms, you may be directed to urgent care centers instead.

The idea is to keep doctor offices sterile, so people with chronic conditions and other issues feel safe coming in to see their primary care physician.

“In the last couple of months, people that have been putting off their care, I just diagnosed a gentleman, new diagnosis with pancreatic cancer,” said Joy. “We're detecting breast cancer, heart disease blood pressure that is out of control.”

Urgent care centers are equipped with personal protective equipment and are typically faster, and cheaper than a visit to a hospital emergency room. But you should call your doctor's office first to see what they recommend based on your symptoms.

Coronavirus Testing Sites - Kern County

View Testing Locations Map

State-Provided Sites
  • Must have an appointment
  • Free, but if have insurance they will bill
  • No screening criteria

Kern County Fairgrounds
1142 South P Street, Building 4, Access Gate 27

Rosamond Library
3611 Rosamond Blvd, Rosamond CA 93560

Arvin Public Health
204 S Hill Street, Arvin

Wasco Library
1102 7th Street

County-Provided Sites
  • Must have an appointment
  • Free
  • No screening criteria
  • Operating with existing provider

Oildale - Good Samaritan Hospital
901 Olive Drive, Bakersfield
  • For Registration call (661) 215-7725
  • Drive-Thru Only
  • Hours: Monday - Friday 8 am - 8 pm, Saturday 8 am - 12 pm

Ridgecrest - Ridgecrest Regional Hospital
1081 N. China Lake Blvd, Ridgecrest
  • For Registration: Text the word "testing" to 833-774-4968 Or Call 866-774-9984
  • Drive-Thru Only
  • Hours: Monday - Friday 8:00 am - 10:30 am

Delano - Delano Regional Medical Center
1401 Garces Hwy, Delano
  • No Drive-Thru option
  • Hours: Monday – Friday 9 am – 5 pm

Kern River Valley - Kern Valley Hospital
6412 Laurel Ave, Mt Mesa Wheelchair Logo
  • For Registration call (760) 379-2681 ext 267
  • Drive-Thru Only
  • Hours: Wednesday - Thursday from 7 am - 2 pm.
Tehachapi - Adventist Health Tehachapi Valley
1100 Magellan Dr 93561

Lamont - Kern County Library
8304 Segrue Road, Lamont, CA 93241
  • For registration call 661-869-6018
  • Drive-Thru and Walk-Up<
  • Testing available for ages 5+ only; parents must be present and give consent for children
  • Hours: Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday 9 am - 2 pm; Tuesday, Thursday 2 pm - 7 pm

Taft - West Side Health Care District
  • For Registration call (661) 765-1935
  • Drive-Thru<
  • TTesting available for all ages; parents must be present and give consent for children
  • Hours: Tuesday – Friday 9 am – 1 pm & 3 pm – 7 pm; Saturday 11 am – 3 pm