Continued Preparation and Prevention [COVID-19]
Staying well during the fall and winter seasons, as our immune systems become vulnerable in cold weather, seems more important than ever before. COVID-19 is still very prevalent and without the proper prevention, we might be facing a second surge. So we need to do everything we can to avoid illnesses that are preventable –– including your annual flu shots.
The CDC says the flu virus can “drift” and “shift.” This means that the virus is constantly mutating which is why there is a new flu shot for every season. You can read more at https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/viruses/change to get a better sense of how viruses produce new ones and how small changes can affect a person’s immunity.
COVID-19 is a member of the virus family. Don’t get it confused with bacteria because that’s a whole other germ-filled environment that is independent of viruses. That’s right, even though most cleaning supplies will kill 99% of bacteria doesn’t mean it will kill viruses! But, to ease your concerns, it is still important to disinfect bacteria to lower the chances of contracting any other kind of sickness. We need our bodies to be the number one pick for defense this season.
The CDC also mentions that there is limited information on how the COVID-19 virus mutates and if those who have been infected are at risk of new infection as the virus changes. What we don’t know CAN hurt us! While we aren’t sure if there will be a second surge, we are sure that the virus is highly communicable even in individuals who are asymptomatic. Everyone is trying to get excited about the onset of fall gatherings including Halloween and Thanksgiving. With restrictions lifting around the world, it’s hard to say it’s not possible.
As people start to gather, cases could spike as we are currently seeing in areas where restrictions have lifted and students have returned to busy campuses. If there was a second surge, will it be just like other viruses of the past or will it not look like a surge because the first one hasn’t ended?
Doctor’s opinions are split but what we can be aware of is that surge or no surge, the virus is never going away. “The real risk is that we’re going to have two circulating respiratory pathogens at the same time,” explained Dr. Robert Redfield, the head of the CDC. What we can do to prepare ourselves is focus on the facts.
Washing hands, wearing a mask, and continuing to limit our exposure to large gatherings has been proven and will continue to be important while we conquer COVID-19 and the flu in tandem. While we can’t yet get a COVID-19 vaccine, we can do our part in making an appointment for a flu shot!