By Sharon Trongaard, RRT, MS, MPH, Clinic Director/Risk & Compliance Officer and Respiratory Therapist at Health Partnership Clinic
As we head into Fall, colds and the flu will return, joining COVID-19 as illnesses that can cause severe illness and keep you from doing the things you enjoy with others.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) many of the symptoms of the common cold, flu and COVID-19 overlap, so it may be difficult to determine what you have. In medicine, our moto is Don’t Guess, Test! There are rapid and laboratory testing available for both flu and COVID-19, and HPC offers flu and COVID-19 testing at all of our clinic locations. It’s best to call the clinic so that we can offer the safest way to complete testing. We offer both walk in and drive-up testing.
The great news is that you can dramatically lower your risk of getting the flu and COVID-19 by getting vaccinated. Flu vaccines are 40-60 percent effective, and COVID-19 vaccines are 70-95 percent effective in preventing transmission and illness.
Flu vaccination is recommended for children and adults six months of age and older. COVID -19 vaccination is recommended for children and adults 12 years of age and older. If you do still get the flu or COVID-19 after vaccination, you are less likely to get very sick or die. Getting vaccinated against flu and COVID-19 also helps protect the people around you who are at high risk, such as older adults, people with medical conditions and pregnant women.
COVID-19 and flu vaccination are offered at HPC, contact us at 913-648-2266 to schedule your vaccination.
Flu infection rates were dramatically low during the 2020-2021 season, even though the number of tests that were done was high. Scientists at the CDC believe this is due to the measures put in place for COVID-19, such as hand washing, physical distancing, school and other closures, increased ventilation in closed spaces, staying home and wearing masks. These same practices can lower your chance of getting a cold, the flu and COVID-19.
Here are some simple healthy habits you can follow to lower your chance of getting a cold, flu or COVID-19:
- Stay home if you are sick.
- Isolate from others in your home as much as possible.
- Cover your face with a cloth or other mask when you are unable to maintain a safe physical distance from others (at least six feet) especially when inside.
- Wash your hands (this is best) or use a hand sanitizer that is at least 70 percent alcohol after touching hard surfaces or other people, before eating, and after using the restroom.
- Avoid touching your mouth, nose and eyes as it is easier for viruses to spread this way.
- Clean the hard surfaces in your home frequently, especially countertops, door handles and tables.
- Keep your immune system in great shape by eating a plant rich diet, exercising regularly and getting enough sleep.