Flu Season Has Arrived During the Coronavirus Pandemic — Here's How to Stay Safe

Flu Season Has Arrived During the Coronavirus Pandemic — Here's How to Stay Safe

Winter has arrived. With it, the days have become shorter, and the nights have gotten colder. But this year's cold season brings us something we haven't dealt with before: COVID-19.

As coronavirus cases skyrocket and flu season begins, the next few months could get ugly. Here are some tips to help your protect yourself during this winter.

A Tough Winter Lies Ahead for Humanity

There's no reason to beat around the bush — winter is going to be tough to weather during this pandemic. With brisker air and fewer hours of daylight, more people will be spending their time indoors. But that's exactly where the coronavirus excels at transmitting.

On top of this, we have to deal with flu season. Together, the flu and COVID-19 stand a good chance of inundating and overwhelming both our immune systems and medical infrastructures.

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In an analysis of COVID-19 cases from the first few months of the pandemic, Public Health England (PHE) discovered that people who became infected with both viruses had a greater risk of severe illness. If that's not scary enough, the study also discovered that people with both the flu and COVID-19 are more than twice as likely to die than someone with only the coronavirus. To be more precise, the odds of death are 2.27 times higher.

5 Tips to Stay Safe During This Winter

On the bright side, the general guidance for avoiding the flu is actually similar to what we've been practicing for months already during the pandemic: Social distance, wash your hands regularly, and put on a face mask when you're in public. All of these measures go a long way towards protecting you from both the flu and the coronavirus.

With that said, here are a few other recommendations you should implement if you're worried about this upcoming winter:

1. Get Your Flu Shot as Soon as Possible

Many health experts have said that this year's flu vaccine may be the most important one you ever get. In fact, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended that you get your flu shot by the end of October.

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This will drastically decrease your chances of getting the flu. And that means it also lowers the possibility of getting both the coronavirus and the flu. On top of this, it also means that your healthcare system will have one less infectious respiratory illness to contend with.

2. Practice Healthy Habits

Obesity is a risk factor that can lead to more severe outcomes when it comes to respiratory viruses. So practice healthy habits. Get plenty of sleep, exercise regularly, and strive to eat healthy meals. Unless your doctor has instructed you to take vitamins, you probably don't need them — all the nutrients your immune system requires should be in the food you consume.

It's also important to take care of your psychological and emotional well-being. Times are tough right now. So take extra steps to reduce your stress. It can make a monumental difference.

3. Stay Warm When Going Outside

While the winter chill may cause more people to turn to indoor environments for gatherings, outside hang-outs are still generally safer. There's more room to spread out and a steady air flow. With that said, you should invest in ways to keep your gatherings outdoors, even when it gets chilly. If you've always wanted a fire pit, heat lamps, or a warm coat, this is probably the best excuse you'll ever have for that purchase.
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4. Keep Wearing Face Mask Protection Around Others

Are you outside and able to maintain a six-foot distance from others? Then you probably don't need to wear a face mask. But if you find yourself in a crowded area or on streets that make it difficult to avoid strangers, don't hesitate to don your mask or neck gaiter. Cloth masks not only prevent "silent transmission" of the coronavirus, but they also stop you from spreading it if you're asymptomatic.

5. Cut Down Other Exposure Risks If You're Traveling

As winter comes, many of us are debating about whether we should make a trip to see our families for the holidays. If you do decide to embark on this journey, then you should try to cut down your cumulative risk as much as possible.
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For instance, pretend you've decided to fly out to visit your family for Thanksgiving. Then don't double down on your risk by dining in an indoor restaurant or attending sporting events during this time. You've chosen your risk; don't increase the probability that you'll expose yourself or your loved ones to an increased likelihood of coming down with the coronavirus or flu.

Remember: Safety First!

We know that these last 6 months of the pandemic have been tough. Each of us has lived through business closures, upheavals to our work lives, travel restrictions, mask mandates, and too many other events to mention in this short time span. But we must continue to take extra safety precautions. It's the only way we can make it back to a life that resembles normalcy.

Hang in there. We know things have been difficult. But we also know that we can get through this together. Keep wearing face masks, washing your hands, and social distancing. Together, we'll put this pandemic behind us.

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