Flu season is coming. This year, the threat of COVID-19 presents an additional challenge to staying healthy. Influenza viruses exist year-round, but peak flu season is considered to be December to February. Influenza and COVID-19 are both respiratory illnesses but are caused by different viruses.

What is Influenza?

The flu is one of several common respiratory illnesses. Coughing, sneezing, fever, chills, and headaches are all familiar symptoms. An influenza virus causes the flu, which infects your nose and throat, and sometimes your lungs as well. So, how can you make sure everyone at home is safe?

Keep Your Distance

One of the primary recommendations to minimize the spread of COVID-19 is to maintain appropriate “social distance.” Staying away from others is also one of your best defenses when striving to avoid influenza.

Flu viruses (and COVID-19) are spread mainly by droplets made when people sneeze, cough, or speak. Keeping your distance keeps you away from potentially contagious droplets.

Kickstart Your Immunity

The CDC recommends an annual flu vaccine. Vaccination is particularly important for people with underlying health conditions that could make the illness more serious. People who are immunosuppressed from an underlying illness are at a higher risk from the flu. Getting the vaccine can help protect yourself and others.

There are many different shots available. Your health care provider can advise on what’s best for you and your family. There are many programs for free flu vaccines, or your insurance may cover any cost. Make sure you look into when is open enrollment for health insurance 2021.

Wash Your Hands

One of the simplest and most effective things you can do to prevent the flu is to wash your hands. Germs spread when you touch a person or surface that contains infectious droplets, then touch your eyes, nose, or mouth. Frequent hand-washing with soap and water will remove the droplets that could otherwise make you ill.

There’s a technique for effective hand-washing. Wet your hands, apply soap, lather your entire hands, then scrub for at least 20 seconds before rinsing. When soap and water are not available, hand sanitizer is a good alternative.

Support Your Immune System

Your immune system is there to protect you from viruses. You can help keep it healthy by eating well. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables will provide the antioxidants your body needs.

Many people struggle to find the time to get enough sleep. Resting for seven to nine hours every night can help keep your body healthy and ready to fight off viruses. You can build good sleep habits by following a routine, including going to bed at a consistent time.

Maintaining a healthy weight and exercising regularly are key to a great immune system. Stress is damaging to your body. Managing these feelings will increase your overall health and boost your immunity.

Extra Precautions for Seniors

According to the CDC, COVID-19 presents more risks for senior citizens than it does for younger people.  The older you are, the greater your risk of becoming hospitalized or dying from COVID-19. Therefore, it is sensible for senior citizens to take extra precautions for protecting themselves.

 Many stores are now offering online ordering with curbside pickup, which can help to minimize a senior’s exposure to sick people. In cases where shopping in person is necessary, older shoppers can often take advantage of special shopping hours where admittance is restricted to senior citizens only. Many grocery stores now offer this perk to their older customers. 

It’s also a good precaution to choose a senior’s health insurance plan that specifically covers hospitalization — and also to review what your deductibles and out-of-pocket expenses will be in the event of hospitalization. In the United States, Medicare will cover many of the expenses associated with COVID-19; but, under this plan, you could expect to pay your usual deductibles plus a per-day expense in the unfortunate event that hospitalization would be necessary. A typical out-of-pocket expense would be $352 per day for the first 90 days, in addition to the deductible. If these expenses would be prohibitively expensive for you, it might be worthwhile to research supplemental insurance plans.  In Australia, public Medicare is generally sufficient to cover all major expenses associated with COVID-19, including hospitalization. However, if you want to choose your own doctor or have a private room at the hospital, you’d typically need to enroll in a private health fund.

Keeping Healthy

We all want to keep our families safe and healthy. Many of the recommendations to reduce the risk of COVID-19 will also lower the risk of influenza. It’s essential that people stay vigilant in the upcoming flu season to reduce the risk of an outbreak in the middle of a pandemic situation. Use our four tips above and you’ll be well on your way to staying in good health. Maintaining a healthy weight and exercising regularly are key to a great immune system. Stress is damaging to your body. Managing these feelings will increase your overall health and boost your immunity.

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