How to stay healthy during cold, flu and COVID-19 season


Winter has arrived, bringing with it its usual symptoms – cough, nasal congestion, fatigue and fever – and, this year, a New COVID-19 variant Dominating the scoreboard.

COVID-19 is the leader in hospitalizations among respiratory viruses, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Last week, 25 US states had high or very high levels of respiratory illnesses, including fever, cough and other symptoms. That’s down from 37 states the previous week, the CDC said.

Since the beginning of October, the flu has caused at least 16 million illnesses, 180,000 hospitalizations and 11,000 deaths so far this season. The CDC said 47 children have died from the flu.

January can be the worst month for these diseases. With vaccination rates low, what can you do to protect yourself from respiratory viruses, including influenza, COVID-19 and RSV?

back to the basics

hand washing remains important To reduce the spread of viral infections. Take your time to sync. Twenty seconds is recommended. If you feel silly singing “Happy Birthday” twice while scrubbing with soapy water, count slowly to 20.

Use hand sanitizer with 60% alcohol when you don’t have access to soap and water.

Also, wear a mask in crowded areas. Increase ventilation in your workplace and home.

It’s not too late to get vaccinated

In the United States, Only 17% of them are eligible The updated COVID-19 vaccine has been received, which provides good protection against the now dominant JN.1 variant.

It’s not too late to roll up your sleeves. While you’re at it, make sure you get your annual flu shot. People age 60 and older may want to get this rsv vaccineIt is also recommended to prevent RSV in babies during pregnancy.

when you have kids at home

Young children seem to pick up every germ that is floating around. Can their parents avoid getting sick?

This time of year, children tend to be indoors with other children, touching the same toys and surfaces, said Jennifer Soni of the University of Washington School of Nursing in Seattle. Some people have not learned to hide their cough and have not been exposed to many diseases, so their immune systems are still developing.

If you’re a parent or caring for young children, it’s important to take care of yourself, said Soni, who is the immediate past president of the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners.

“We know that if you’re sleep-deprived or dehydrated or experiencing a lot of stress, it can compromise your immune function,” Soni said.

Having young children is a very difficult task, “so all this advice should be interpreted in the context of reality,” he said. “Despite doing everything right, children will still catch colds.”

A special note if your child is sick: It’s a good idea to have saline drops and a bulb syringe at home. These can be used to clear mucus from small nostrils.

“Put a few drops of saline in one nostril and suck it out and then do the same on the other side,” Soni said. “Doing this before eating and sleeping will help a lot.”

Home kits for kids might also include water bottles with acetaminophen or ibuprofen for fever, tissues for runny nose, and sippy cups to stay hydrated.

test for treatment

If you do get sick, prompt testing can help determine whether you have COVID-19 or influenza. It’s important to see if you need one of the drugs that can help prevent severe disease: Paxlovid for COVID-19 and Tamiflu for the flu.

If you don’t have a test kit at home, look for one test-to-treat site At your nearest pharmacy clinic or health center. there is also a free one Home-Based Test-to-Treat Program For adults who are uninsured or dependent on government health insurance.


The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Science and Educational Media Group. AP is solely responsible for all content.


Source link

Leave a Comment