Cold and flu season typically starts in the fall, but the coronavirus will make this year’s sick season look a lot different. During a normal cold and flu season, doctor offices see increased cases of coughs, runny noses, and sore throats. This year these normal symptoms will bring an increased concern of coronavirus.
Unfortunately, coronavirus symptoms can be very similar to a cold or the flu. The flu alone kills anywhere between 12,000 to 61,000 people in the U.S. every year, and the coronavirus has already caused more than 200,000 U.S. deaths. With this in mind, below are the best ways to prepare for a COVID-19 cold and flu season to keep your family safe and healthy this year.
Get a flu shot
You might not be able to protect yourself from COVID-19 yet, but you can protect yourself against the flu. With a flu shot, you reduce the risk of catching the illness, and if you do get the flu it will be less severe. It’s more important than ever to guard your health against illness, so take the necessary precautions and go to your doctor or local pharmacy and get the flu shot as soon as possible.
Follow COVID precautions
Your family is probably tired of wearing a mask and social distancing. Nevertheless, you need to continue following safety protocols. Large groups of people are where the cold, flu, coronavirus, and other illnesses spread so it’s best to avoid these situations. Keep social distancing and leave the group gatherings for next year. If you do get together with people, stay outside where the air is circulating more freely and you can keep a safer distance.
It’s also important to remember the hygiene basics. Always wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and avoid touching your face when you’re out and about. Germs transfer from the surfaces you touch to your hands, so when you rub your eye or scratch your nose you transfer that bacteria to your body.
Plan in advance
Being prepared for an illness is never a bad idea. If you don’t have a primary care physician, now is the time to establish one. Have the number of your doctor on hand in case you experience a fever so you can call to determine your next steps. In some cases, your physician may just recommend rest and staying hydrated. In other instances, you may need to go in for a coronavirus test. Either way, know the number for your doctor in the event you get sick.
Stock up on supplies
An emergency supply stock is never a bad idea to have stashed away in the house. That’s not to say you need five cases of toilet paper, but it doesn’t hurt to have one extra package on hand. You should also make sure you have plenty of medicine, soup, and other nonperishables in stock in case you can’t leave the house for two weeks. Take 10 minutes to put a list of emergency supplies together that would be useful if someone in your family was sick or if you needed to cook for two weeks without going to the grocery store. Keep these items in the pantry throughout the next few months so your family is fully prepared for this cold and flu season.