While in-person events and heading back for in-person learning or to the office after some time is a promising milestone in the fight against COVID-19, it also means an increased risk of catching a cold or other illness.
Typically, we see cases of the common cold and other respiratory viruses begin to increase in the fall and winter (also known as cold and flu season). Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, your immune system came into contact with a lot of viruses, bacteria and more in your day to day life. While we practiced isolating and social distance, the chance of community transmission of these illnesses declined.
Symptoms of the common cold and COVID-19 overlap a bit, and with the delta variant and breakthrough cases, you may need some reassurance about what is causing that cough or a stuffy nose.
One great option is seeing a provider through telehealth, like a PhysicianOne Urgent Care Virtual Visit. These visits can happen anywhere, including from the comfort of home while you aren’t feeling well. After consulting with a health care professional, you can work together to determine if you need testing in the office for a certain type of illness like COVID-19 or how to take care of yourself while you’re on the mend.
Taking some of the precautions below can help you prevent getting sick in the first place:
🧼 Handwashing is your new best friend
Back to basics, properly washing hands with soap and warm water takes no less than 20 seconds and washes away germs to reduce your chances of getting sick. If you don’t trust your internal stopwatch, singing your ABCs will help you keep track of the appropriate amount of time to scrub your hands. You can sub out 20 seconds of your favorite song as well, like the choruses to Jolene, Truth Hurts, or Livin’ on a Prayer.
Hand sanitizer is great in a pinch, but old fashioned soap and water is a better alternative whenever possible. Hand sanitizer does not eliminate all bacteria like Staphylococcus, the cause of Staph infections. Soap and water protects you against more harmful germs, including COVID-19.
🧽Disinfect your phone screen
Research shows that phone screens can be home to 10x the amount of bacteria per square inch on a toilet seat. And yet, it’s one of the surfaces we are in contact with the most throughout the day. Wiping your phone screen with a disinfectant wipe every so often can drastically reduce the amount of germs you come into contact with daily. Similarly, try to avoid touching your face, mouth or eyes after using your phone until you have a chance to wash your hands.
🥗Fuel your immune system with nutrients
Vitamins and minerals, or micronutrients, are important for your immune system to function at its best. Vitamin D is known to kill unwanted bacteria and viruses while Vitamin C can help while blood cells fight infection. Zinc can help you fight the first bout of symptoms caused by transmissible diseases. Loading up on micronutrients is not a fool-proof shield, but supports your body’s natural defenses.
Remember – We’ve got you!
Whether you’re returning to the office or the classroom, you are not alone in disease prevention. Colds and respiratory viruses will happen and our team is here to help you and your loved ones get well on your way to feeling better and staying healthy. We’re happy to see you virtually or in-person at one of our 23 conveniently located centers in Connecticut, Massachusetts and New York. In the meantime, visit us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube for more health tips and to stay connected!