Preparing for Healthy Holidays
With the holidays right around the corner – we want to help in keeping everyone healthy and safe this holiday season! Those closest to you this holiday season may be highly susceptible to infections – your grandparents, children, and those that are immune compromised.
With COVID-19, Flu, and RSV cases on the rise throughout the US – it's important to prepare properly to keep you and all those around you healthy this holiday season.
What to Look Out For
During fall and winter there are three viruses that always have a large “spike” in cases, and everyone should know what to be aware of and look out for:
- While COVID-19 and its mutations are still changing, there are consistent and common symptoms to look out for – they are as follows:
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
- The more serious symptoms to be cautious of and seek immediate medical attention if presented with:
- Trouble breathing
- Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
- New confusion
- Inability to wake or stay awake
- Pale, gray, or blue-colored skin, lips, or nail beds, depending on skin tone
- Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a common respiratory virus that usually causes mild, cold-like symptoms. Most people recover in a week or two, but RSV can be serious, especially for infants and older adults.
- Common symptoms of RSV include:
- Runny nose
- Decrease in appetite
- More severe symptoms in which to seek immediate medical attention are as follows:
- Difficulty breathing
- Trouble swallowing
- Rapid breathing or difficulty breathing — the person may prefer to sit up rather than lie down
- The Flu
- Flu (influenza) is an infection of the nose, throat and lungs, which are part of the respiratory system
- Common symptoms of the Flu include:
- Aching muscles
- Chills and sweat
- Dry, persistent cough
- Shortness of breath
- Tiredness and weakness
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Sore throat
- Eye pain
- Vomiting and diarrhea - which is more common in children than adults
- Seek immediate medical attention if more severe symptoms arise, such as:
- Difficulty breathing
- Pale, gray or blue-colored skin, lips or nail beds - depending on skin color
- Chest pain
- Severe muscle pain
- Worsening of existing medical conditions
While in most cases RSV, Flu and COVID-19 are easily treated and don’t turn severe, it is important to monitor yourself or your loved one and seek immediate medical attention if any of your symptoms worsen.
What are Ways to Protect Yourself and Others?
While the holidays are a wonderful time to visit with family, friends, attend parties and more – it is a large reason why cases in RSV, Flu and COVID go up. Being inside and closely around people, it can be hard to avoid a strong and infectious virus.
There are many ways to protect yourself and others. While gathering together this time of year brings joy, happiness, laughs and more – it’s a time to be even more cautious and aware of your health. You want to be sure to keep children, elderly and immune compromised individuals safe and healthy. We have a few simple ways to help so you know before you go!
- Get Vaccinated
- While there is currently no vaccine for RSV, there is the Flu shot and COVID-19 vaccines along with a new ‘bivalent’ booster that targets the ever-mutating Omicron variant.
- Wash Your Hands
- ‘Tis the season to be cooking, hugging, sharing and more. Make sure to continue to wash your hands before and after cooking, eating, being in public places and more.
- Mask Up in Public Places
- While we know wearing a mask at a party and around friends and family isn’t ideal... we recommend at the very least, wearing a mask while out at highly populated areas, such as the grocery stores, when using public transportation, the mall, and other crowded places.
- Test, Test, Test
- The best way to know if you have one of the viruses is to test. Even if you are vaccinated and have no symptoms, you could still be a carrier. Therefore, we suggest testing, especially for COVID-19 before and after events, and anytime you may be feeling under the weather, to be safe.
What Should You do if You're Sick?
While being sick during this time of year is never fun, you want to make sure you don’t spread your illness to others. There are simple ways to ensure that:
- Talk with your doctor
- No matter what infection you may have, it is important to reach out to your doctor to find out the best course of treatment.
- Isolate yourself
- Do not attend social gatherings, go into the office or other areas in which you could risk spreading illness – depending on what infection you have will depend on how long you will need to isolate.
- Inform those you were recently around
- If you have tested positive for any of the viral infections, be sure to reach out to those that you had close contact with in recent days to let them know so they can test and take necessary precautions.
While the holidays are a great way to reconnect with family members and friends you haven’t seen in a while, it is also a time to be cautious and make sure that you are keeping you, your family and loved ones safe and healthy. Enjoy the holidays – have fun by staying healthy!
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