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Every fall we start to hear about the upcoming flu season. We hear how important it is to get our flu shot. We learn different ways to take care of ourselves during the colder weather and how to prevent spread of the flu.
This year is no different — And yet it is.
The precautions that we normally take for the flu are even more important this year.
This year we are adding another deadly respiratory virus — COVID-19.
Per the CDC, in 2019 anywhere from 24,000 — 62,000 people died from the flu.
Since February 1, 2020, there have been 175,866 deaths that involve COVID. And 283,199 deaths that involved COVID, pneumonia, or influenza.
The combination of these viruses is going to touch many families over the next six months.
What You Need to Know
The flu and COVID-19 have very similar symptoms. It is going to be hard to determine whether you have the flu or COVID-19.
The CDC released an article regarding the similarities and differences between the flu and COVID-19.
Some of the similar symptoms are cough, fever, shortness of breath, and body aches.
Per this article, one of the major differences is that with COVID-19 you may experience loss of smell and/or taste.
Symptoms for COVID-19 may not present themselves as quickly. Therefore you may be spreading the virus before you realize that you have it. You may also be contagious longer.
Per the CDC, with the flu you are generally contagious about one day before symptoms start and up to 7 days after symptoms start.
With COVID-19, they have found that you can be contagious approximately two days before symptoms start and 10 days after symptoms present themselves. Also, with COVID the carrier may be asymptomatic and not realize that they are carrying the virus.
What You Can Do To Slow The Spread
This year it is going to be more important than ever to help slow the spread of the flu and COVID-19.
Our older populations, people with compromised immune systems, and those with other health issues are going to be more vulnerable.
There are many ways that you can help slow the spread.
Here are FIVE ways you can help slow the spread this flu season.
1. Wear A Mask
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The flu and COVID-19 are both respiratory viruses that are spread through droplets projected when you sneeze, cough, and just talk.
When wearing a mask you not only protect yourself — but others.
Medical News Today released an article that talks about some of the myths surrounding the use of face masks. In their article they referenced a study that showed that face masks can be “79% effective in reducing transmission”.
There have been other examples of people with COVID-19 who wore masks and did not transmit the virus to others. One example was in Missouri where two hair stylists both tested positive for COVID-19 but did not infect any of their clients or co-workers. It is believed that the mask is what prevented the spread.
In order to make sure the mask is effective the face mask should be at least two layers. When wearing a mask it is important that both the mouth and nose are covered.
Before removing your mask, sanitize or wash your hands. And if you have a fabric mask make sure it is being washed regularly.
2. Get Your Flu Shot
Getting your flu shot is important every year.
This year, with COVID added into the mix, it is even more important.
The CDC recommends that you get your flu shot sometime in September or October. You do not want to get it prior to September because it will not be effective later in the season. You should not get it later than October because it takes about two weeks for it to be fully effective.
Primary care physicians and many local pharmacies can administer the flu shot.
3. If You’re Not Feeling Well — Stay Home
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Sometimes we push through illnesses when we are not feeling well. Our list of to-do’s is too long to slow down.
If COVID-19 has taught us anything — it’s that we need to slow down.
This year, if you are not feeling well — please stay home. This simple act can save someone’s life.
If you are not feeling well, have a fever, any COVID or flu symptoms it is important to stay home and limit your exposure to others.
If there are others in the home, self quarantine so they are not exposed and potentially carry the virus with them outside of the house.
4. Make Healthy Choices — Mentally and Physically
Eating right and exercise can not only help you physically but mentally.
Go for a walk. Pick up an apple rather than a bag of chips. Meditate. Read. Do yoga. Knit.
Find what you love — that is good for you — and indulge.
If you have the internet then you can pretty much learn how to do anything.
Taking care of your mind and body boosts immunity.
5. Talk To Your Doctor
This flu season what if you could message your doctor about a symptom and they could let you know whether or not you needed to be seen.
What if you could be seen in the comfort of your own home via telehealth rather than a busy office?
At Dimensions Direct Primary Care you get just that. You pay a monthly fee and you have access to your primary care physician.
Dr. Sheila Chen at Dimensions Direct Primary Care can help you navigate this flu season.
Convenient care and urgent care are going to be busy this season. Don’t sit in the germ filled waiting room when you can have the comfort of knowing that you have a Doctor that knows you and can address your questions and concerns — at your convenience.
What is it worth to give you and your family peace of mind?
Contact Dimensions Direct Primary Care today to learn about how they can help you navigate this flu season.