We aren’t even done with the COVID pandemic, and now the cold and flu season is just around the corner as if the pandemic situation doesn’t cause enough anxiety already. Many would ask how severe will the cold and flu season be as it coincides with the current pandemic situation?
We aren’t even done with the COVID pandemic, and now the cold and flu season is just around the corner as if the pandemic situation doesn’t cause enough anxiety already. Many would ask how severe will the cold and flu season be as it coincides with the current pandemic situation? What preparation can we do?
This question can be hard to answer as from each year, there are several different flu viruses around, and from year to year, viruses mutate. Each year, the flu shot gets upgraded to provide protection against three or four of the worst flu strains that might show up during this season.
Another factor is human behavior. During this season, the practices we do -- such as practicing physical distancing and wearing a mask, and cancellations or closures affecting work, school, public events, and travel -- can help keep the flu and other respiratory viruses from spreading, in addition to COVID-19.
But there is another factor to consider: Fewer patients are getting recommended vaccines as noted by the doctors. Many people get their flu shots through their local health department, school, or their employers. Some of these large-scale vaccination events might not even be possible to take place this year due to the pandemic.
Studies show that flu vaccine makes it less likely that you would get severely sick if you did become infected and it also reduces your risk of flu illness overall. Since the COVID-19 vaccine is not yet available, we should protect ourselves from that one thing that we know how to prevent. The flu vaccine does not only benefit you but also your loved ones around you. The CDC recommends everyone above the age of 6 months should get vaccinated. This year, as a part of the preparation for the start of the cold and flu season, each one should get a flu vaccine in September and October.
Flu viruses spread just like how COVID-19 does. Through the droplets that are discharged from a sick person’s mouth or nose. So the safety precautions that you are doing to protect yourself from the spread of the virus -- like washing your hands frequently, wearing a face mask when going outside, and maintaining six feet distance from others -- could keep you from being exposed to a flu virus.
The COVID-19 and the flu have many overlapping symptoms such as shortness of breath, cough, muscle aches, and fever. Be sure to give your doctor a call if you are experiencing these symptoms. He or she can accurately provide you the information on what to do next and if you should be scheduled for a COVID-19 or a flu test.
If you are feeling mild symptoms of COVID-19 or the flu, better stay home until you feel better to avoid spreading it on to others. Keep a few things handy in case this situation arises: cough syrup, acetaminophen (Tylenol), thermometer, and ibuprofen for muscle aches. If you have a certain medical condition that makes you more vulnerable to severe illness, it would be wise to keep at home a pulse oximeter, which gauges the levels of oxygen in your blood.
Boost your immune system by having healthy living habits. So practice eating a balanced diet consisting of healthy proteins and fresh foods such as chicken, lean meat, and fish. Don’t forget to replenish your body with water. Do a regular exercise and get a good night’s sleep. For adults, it is advised to get at least 7 to 8 hours a day and on the other hand, the children should get more. Pay attention to any daytime sleepiness or sleepiness while driving to assess how much more sleep you should be getting.
Following the coronavirus precautions may be tiring but keep in mind that these measures -- physical distancing, wearing a mask, frequent hand washing -- can be essentially beneficial for you and your family’s safety so encourage them to do the same.
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