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.
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.
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
4. Keep Wearing Face Mask Protection Around Others
5. Cut Down Other Exposure Risks If You're Traveling
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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