How to Navigate COVID-19 and the Flu Season During the Holidays
Flu season is an inevitable part of fall and winter, but its impact will likely be amplified this year by the continuing coronavirus pandemic.
While health care providers are concerned about the intersection of these two respiratory infections — dubbed the “Twindemic” — there are several steps individuals can take to protect themselves from both influenza and coronavirus. And with winter holidays around the corner, individuals need to take extra caution to avoid spreading both viruses to loved ones, as well.
Here are our recommendations on how you should prepare for the holidays:
1. Get your flu vaccine.
While it’s always a good idea to get a flu vaccine, it’s especially important this year. The flu vaccine could reduce the severity of flu symptoms, but — most notably — it can also decrease the impact on health care systems by reducing the number of people who need to be treated for the flu. If you haven’t gotten a flu shot yet, don’t delay any longer. Cameron Memorial Community Hospital’s Immunization Clinic offers flu shots. Appointments can be made by calling 260-667-5622.
2. Practice good hygiene.
The same practices health experts recommend for reducing the spread of COVID-19 apply to the flu, as well. It’s simple, but its importance can’t be overstated.
- Wash your hands vigorously and regularly
- Don’t touch your face
- Disinfect surfaces often
- Cover mouth if you cough or sneeze
3. Listen to your body.
Influenza and COVID-19 symptoms closely mirror one another, including fever, fatigue, cough, muscle aches, sore throat and more. If you begin experiencing any of these symptoms, contact your health care provider immediately and stay home. If caught early, influenza can often be treated with antivirals.
4. Social distancing is critical.
COVID-19 and the flu spread among people who are in close contact — generally individuals who are within six feet of one another. It’s also important to remember individuals who have COVID-19 but don’t have symptoms are still capable of spreading the virus. That’s why it’s critical to practice social distancing, even if you’re feeling fine.
- Stay home if you’re sick
- Avoid crowds and public places
- Wear a mask over your mouth and nose when you go out
5. Think of your loved ones.
The holidays are a difficult time to spend apart from family and friends. But in many cases, the risks posed by COVID-19 and the flu are simply too great to risk spreading to others — particularly those with compromised immune systems. We urge everyone to consider what’s best in the long-term before deciding whether to see friends and family. If you do plan on seeing friends and family during the holidays, take steps to make the encounter as safe as possible, like quarantining for at least 14 days in advance.
None of these measures are perfect, but when taken together they dramatically reduce the risk for spreading viruses.
If you have any questions about COVID-19, call our resource line at 260-667-5555, available 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday and Sunday. If you have general questions about Cameron Memorial Community Hospital, you can call 260-665-2141, or submit a form on our website.