The body aches, the stuffy nose and the sore throat…we all know how crummy it feels when coming down with an upper respiratory infection. Influenza, commonly referred to as the flu, is one major upper respiratory illness we should all be protecting ourselves against in addition to COVID-19 as we get further into the fall and winter.
Our PhysicianOne Urgent Care experts have been following expert insights and data around the flu this year and believe that it will most likely make a strong comeback after we faced a pretty mild flu season last fall in terms of severity of illness and hospitalizations.
The good news is that there are things you can do to protect yourself and your family from the flu, common colds and other common illnesses this time of year. Just follow these four tips:
1. Don’t wait, vaccinate! Get your annual flu shot today
Your best defense against flu is getting the flu shot. By getting your flu shot during this time, you are helping to prepare your immune system before flu activity peaks, usually between December and February. Can we count on you to join our Flu Fighters team?
Everyone six months or older should get a flu shot between now and the end of October (with very few exceptions), however if you miss the window of time we still encourage you to come in during flu season to get your shot.
If you just got your COVID-19 vaccine and/or are you eligible for your booster shot, don’t wait to get your flu shot. Following the science and latest guidance, there is minimal risk with getting your flu shot at and/or around the same time as your COVID vaccine.
2. Is it the flu or COVID-19? Get tested for COVID-19
Much of our recent anxieties during the pandemic have stemmed from concerns of symptoms and figuring out if our diagnosis is COVID-19, the flu, RSV, just a common cold or seasonal allergies.
To help avoid a twindemic of severe flu and COVID-19 infections that overwhelm the health care system, you can do your part by getting tested if you are concerned you have either the flu or COVID-19. Knowing if you have either can help you make informed decisions, like skipping that football watch party or keeping your child home from that birthday party, that helps curb the spread of these contagious illnesses.
Getting tested for COVID-19 at PhysicianOne Urgent Care is a pretty easy process with a minimal wait. Start with a virtual telehealth visit with one of our experienced medical providers to talk about your situation and symptoms. Next, you can head to a convenient PhysicianOne Urgent Care location for the swab and it will all be billed as one visit. You’ll know your results in approximately 24 to 48 hours.
3. Don’t let your guard down quite yet. Continue to take precautionary measures
The precautionary measures we have taken against COVID-19 also have benefits of protecting us from the flu and other uncomfortable upper respiratory infections.
After coming to see us for your annual flu shot, keep yourself protected by wearing a mask (especially in crowded spaces), practicing good hand hygiene (particularly after coughing or sneezing), keeping surfaces clean/sanitized and staying home if you are not feeling well. We also suggest keeping your masks clean to avoid germ buildup.
We know how tired everyone is of taking these extra steps, however, we believe it is critical to saving lives during these uncertain times. Every small step we take can save lives.
4. Boost your immunity and get plenty of Vitamin C!
Your immune system is what keeps you protected against severe illness when your body is attacked by bacteria, viruses, fungi, and toxins. In addition to getting your flu shot, boosting your immune system is essential to protecting yourself.
How can you boost your immune system during flu season this year? Experts suggest engaging in healthy habits including getting a good night’s rest, regularly exercising, staying hydrated, maintaining a healthy diet and getting the proper vitamins/minerals to sustain your immunity.
At PhysicianOne, we’ve got you and we are here to help you and your loved ones navigate through these continuous uncertain times. Testing is our most helpful safety net as the COVID-19 crisis continues. To get your health concerns checked and questions answered, schedule a virtual visit or come into any of our 23 locations in Connecticut, Massachusetts and New York.