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

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

Winter is coming, bringing with it a host of the usual symptoms — cough, nasal congestion, fatigue, fever — and this year, The new variant of Covid-19 He dominates the scoreboard.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) leads in hospitalizations among respiratory viruses, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Last week, 25 US states recorded high or very high levels of respiratory illness accompanied by fever, cough and other symptoms. That’s down from 37 states the week before, the CDC said.

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

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

Back to basics

Hand washing remains crucial To reduce the spread of viral infections. Take your time in the tub. Twenty seconds is recommended. If you feel silly singing “Happy Birthday” twice while scrubbing your body with soap and water, count to 20. Slowly.

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

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

FILE - Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), speaks to reporters during a press conference at WHO headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, Thursday, April 6, 2023. The head of the World Health Organization says holiday gatherings and the spread of the variant are the most prominent at the level of... The world led to increased transmission of Covid-19 last month.  (Martial Trezzini/Keystone via AP, File)
CORRECTIONS TO TYQUAN WRIGHT, NOT DEAL - Tyquan Wright waits outside as his nephew is treated for asthma in the intensive care unit at Bellevue Hospital in New York on Wednesday, January 3, 2023. The previous week, New York City resumed a mask mandate for the city's 11 public hospitals hospital.  (AP Photo/Mary Conlon)

It’s not too late to get vaccinated

in the United States of America, Only 17% are eligible They received the updated COVID-19 vaccine, which provides good protection against the JN.1 variant that is now prevalent.

It’s not too late to roll up your sleeves. While you’re at it, make sure you get your annual flu shot. Those 60 or older may wish to receive RSV vaccinewhich is also recommended during pregnancy to prevent RSV in infants.

When you have children at home

Young children seem to pick up all the germs around them. Can their parents avoid contracting the disease?

Jennifer Soni, of the University of Washington School of Nursing in Seattle, said that children at this time of year are in closed spaces with other children, touching the same toys and surfaces. Some haven’t learned how to cover a cough, and simply haven’t been exposed to many illnesses, so their immune systems are still developing.

It’s important to take care of yourself if you’re a parent or caregiver of young children, said Sonny, who is immediate past president of the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners.

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

Having young children is very difficult, she said, “so all this advice must be interpreted in the context of reality.” “Despite doing everything right, children still get colds.”

A special note if your child is sick: It is a good idea to have saline drops and syringes at home. They can be used to remove mucus from small nostrils.

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

A home kit for children can also include acetaminophen or ibuprofen for fever, wipes for a runny nose, and water bottles with sippy cups to stay hydrated.

Test for treatment

If you get sick, immediate testing can help determine if you have COVID-19 or the flu. It’s important to know if you need one of the medications that can help prevent severe illness: Baxlovid for COVID-19 and Tamiflu for flu.

If you don’t have a test kit at home, find one Test site for treatment At a pharmacy clinic or health center near you. There is also a free service Home testing program for treatment For adults who are uninsured or who rely on government health insurance.

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

(Tags for translation)Influenza

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