COVID-19 is continuing to affect communities across the country, and yet, we have another potentially harmful virus to worry about – the flu.
Health care providers are busy meeting pandemic-related demands, including COVID-19 testing occurring at medical offices and drive-thru locations like CVS Pharmacy stores. In addition, America’s emergency rooms and critical care units are stressed with caring for COVID-19 patients, and that’s likely to get worse as we head into the winter months. Because of this, it’s crucial that we reduce the number of cold and flu cases and flu-related hospitalizations as much as possible to preserve our much-needed health care resources.
The good news is, there are simple things we can all do to help protect ourselves from the flu and boost our immunity during the fall and winter months. This begins with getting your annual flu vaccination. If you have not yet received your flu shot, it’s important that you get vaccinated right away.
Adopting a healthy lifestyle helps to promotes your ability to fight off seasonal illnesses like influenza, pneumonia and the common cold. Improving your diet, expanding your exercise routine and getting plenty of rest are all important ways to keep up your immunity.
Eating a well-balanced diet that includes foods that are rich in vitamins and minerals is also important, including fruits and vegetables. It is also important to maintain a healthy weight as being obesity puts people at risk for many other serious chronic diseases and increases the risk of severe illness from the flu.
Now more than ever it is important to wash your hands for at least 20 seconds. Stay home if you feel ill and try to avoid large crowds. The same things that can help slow the spread of COVID-19 are also important actions in reducing transmission of the flu, as well.
Most flu vaccinations available – including the primary vaccine provided at MinuteClinic and CVS Pharmacy locations nationwide – are the quadrivalent vaccine, which protects against four different flu strains – two types of influenza A and two types of influenza B. Some other flu vaccines protect against three or two strains of the flu. For those 65+, the high-dose version of the quadrivalent influenza vaccine is recommended because it produces more than 4x the antigens to fight off the virus. Those 65+ should also receive a pneumonia vaccine, if they have not done so recently.