Catch The Match, Not A Virus

As soccer fans unite, testing can help keep gatherings across the world stay safe.

Diagnostics Testing|Nov.30, 2022

Soccer and football fans from around the world are gathering to watch their nations’ teams play in a tournament for the ages. Watch parties, restaurants and venues big and small are filled with people wearing the colors and jerseys of their favorite teams and players, excitement filling the air as they tune in to watch. In this time of celebration, the beautiful game represents a chance for us to come together in a way we haven’t in years due to the global pandemic.

As you get ready for the festivities, take a few precautions to ensure that friends and loved ones remain healthy, both before and after.

Regular COVID-19 testing enables us to gather to enjoy the things we all love. Staying   vigilant can help protect our friends and families around us. Virus season is unpredictable, so it’s imperative to stay prepared and test often.

In addition, ensure that you have received your annual flu shot. The flu is estimated to affect around 5-10% of adults and 20-30% of children globally.1 While seasonal changes are a factor, festive gatherings such as soccer watch parties also play an essential role in potentially spreading flu infections.2,3

Get Game-Ready With Some Winning Strategies

In advance of the games and any gatherings, make a plan for friends and family to keep healthy.

  • First, stock up on COVID-19 rapid tests, like BinaxNOW if you are in the U.S. or Panbio COVID-19 Antigen Self-Test if you are outside the U.S., to help rule in or rule out COVID-19. Test before you head out for any of the games and find out your infection status within minutes and help prevent the spread of transmission if you are positive.
  • Next, if you or anyone in your group is feeling unwell with symptoms such as fever, cough, sore throat, or suspects a recent exposure, take one for the team, stay home—and take a Covid self test—and root from the sidelines.
  • As you make your way to the game or watch venues, stay vigilant and avoid or limit touching common surfaces. Practice frequent handwashing or use alcohol-based sanitizer to help lower the risk of disease spread.
  • Try to avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth and cover your coughs and sneezes with either a tissue or by using your sleeve or elbow. Then wash your hands.
  • Game time usually means bringing on a wonderful assortment of snacks and drinks so be careful to not dip into common bowls without utensils or share beverages with others. Exercise caution around food shared among groups of people.

To support fans at the big game in Qatar, Abbott has Panbio COVID-19 Self-Tests available in notable retailers locally for fans to access for all their last-minute needs.

Now that we have our game-day strategy in place let’s talk about post-game tips.

What to Look For: Similar Symptoms Between COVID-19 and Influenza

Viruses don’t discriminate and they love large groups of people. As the world gets back to doing what it loves we are seeing an increase in respiratory viruses from COVID-19 to the flu and more.

As you return from the game celebrations, take note of any changes in how you are feeling. Respiratory viruses spread fast and can catch you off guard. Further, COVID-19 and flu symptoms are similar, so be on the watch for any symptoms below. It’s good to be prepared with at-home COVID-19 tests so you can quickly determine what you’re ill with and to seek the appropriate treatment.

And remember that since COVID-19 and the flu are different viruses, to be protected against the flu, it is necessary to get a flu vaccine, as recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO)4,5,6

Common symptoms between COVID-19 and the flu

  • Fever or feeling feverish/having chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue (tiredness)
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle pain or body aches
  • Headache
  • Vomiting, which is seen more so with the flu
  • Change in or loss of taste or smell, although this is more frequent with COVID-19.

With a few virus-smart strategies, you can head out to celebrate your favorite teams with peace of mind.


1 World Health Organization (WHO). Influenza. Accessed June 2022.

2 Center for Disease Control and prevention (CDC). Influenza (flu) - Flu Season. Last reviewed September 2021. Accessed August 2022.

3National Health Services (NHS). Health experts say “super-spreader” children should get flu vaccination to protect grandparents at Christmas. November 2017. Accessed August 2022.

4World Health Organization (WHO). Coadministration of seasonal inactivated influenza and COVID-19 vaccines. Interim guidance. 21 October 2021. Accessed June 2022.

5World Health Organization (WHO). Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Similarities and differences between COVID-19 and Influenza. 30 September 2021. Accessed June 2022.

6World Health Organization (WH=). Influenza vaccine question and answers. Accessed June 2022.



The BinaxNOW™ COVID-19 Antigen Self Test has not been FDA cleared or approved. It has been authorized by the FDA under an emergency use authorization. It has been authorized only for the detection of proteins from SARS-CoV-2, not for any other viruses or pathogens, and is only authorized for the duration of the declaration that circumstances exist justifying the authorization of emergency use of in vitro diagnostics for detection and/or diagnosis of COVID-19 under Section 564(b)(1) of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, 21 U.S.C. § 360bbb-3(b)(1), unless the declaration is terminated or authorization is revoked sooner. For serial testing, the BinaxNOW COVID-19 Antigen Self Test should be performed twice over 3 days, at least 24 hours (and no more than 48 hours) apart. For symptomatic use, a single test can be used.


The Panbio COVID-19 Self-Test is not approved for use in the US.