مشاركات عشوائية

How to protect yourself and your loved ones during this “triple epidemic”

featured image

Right now, the United States is in the midst of a trio of infectious diseases. The “tripledemic” of coronavirus, influenza and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) has led New York City and Los Angeles County, among other things, to “strongly recommend” masking indoors. Officials in Oakland and Sacramento could follow soon. The CDC, which has barely talked about face coverings in the past year, now advises wearing one based on Covid-19 community levels — a recommendation that Takes into account hospital admissions, available beds and number of case rates.

Look, I’m not trying to scare you with this objectively scary information. The data just shows how crucial it is to prepare for the weather this season. There’s a sense of fatigue, especially when it comes to Covid: it’s been almost three years since this particular pandemic began, and officials’ recommendations have remained muddled. It’s overwhelming; I totally understand. But addressing the emotional reality of navigating these illnesses can go a long way to protecting you and your loved ones.

Covid-19 cases have increased by 26% in the two weeks leading up to December 19, while hospitalizations and deaths increased by 14% and 63% respectively. And this flu season tends to be one of the worst in recent years. The CDC estimates that 15 million people have contracted the flu this season. As of December 16, at least 150,000 people had been hospitalized and 9,300 had died from above-average flu rates. And even if the RSV begins to develop downinfection rates remain high. These high rates of illness also put a major impact stump on hospitals and pharmacies.

So how can we best navigate this disgusting viral chaos? I posed the question to Elizabeth Stuart, a professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and James Conway, a pediatric infectious disease physician at the University of Wisconsin. Here is their advice, edited for length and clarity.

Don’t do presenteeism: stay home if you’re sick

This one seems the most obvious, but for many reasons it doesn’t always pan out. Some employers having exploited workplace policies to ensure that workers arrive even when they are not feeling well. Some employees succumb to the idea that working while sick makes them an ideal employee, someone willing to sacrifice their well-being for the company.

But symptoms of any kind, mild or severe, are a clear sign to stay home. “For too many years, whether in the workplace or for important social commitments, people have taken it as a sign of pride that they would resist and go to work even if they were sick,” Conway said. . “I think people have finally come to recognize that it’s both impractical and a bit disrespectful to other people.”

For people who can’t miss a shift – the reality for many in the service sector, in particular – other measures like mask-wearing, hand-washing and vaccinations will be crucial for your well-being and that of everyone else. (The biggest help, of course, would be a universal sick leave policy.)

To get vaccinated!

Make sure you are up to date with your vaccinations. Unfortunately, both vaccine against influenza and Covid reminder prices They are trailing this year, which is concerning given how tough the season has been.

“Vaccines are a really, really good fit this year with what’s been circulating and working well,” Conway said.

Some remain hesitant in terms of vaccines, some lack of access the vaccines they need, and others think they are not necessary. For Covid boosters, in particular, Conway says people are likely to believe receiving their primary streak, recently contracting the coronavirus, or a combination of the two protects them well enough. (If you contract Covid-19 before being vaccinated or boosted, the CDC recommends delay firing for three months after the onset of symptoms or a positive test. You’ll get the most out of your vaccine if you outgrow your post-viral immunity.)

“It was probably pretty decent in the delta days,” he said. “But with these rapidly emerging omicron variants, especially this new BQ subvariant that replaced BA.4 and BA.5, you’re pretty much unprotected unless you’ve had the bivalent booster.”

New sub-variants of Covid could cause more breakthrough infections. Wear a mask and wash your hands.

Stuart and Conway both advised keeping plenty of masks around – clip one to your car keys, keep a few in your bag, throw an extra in your coat pocket and share – them with others. The same goes for hand sanitizer or, preferably, washing your hands regularly.

“Some of these viruses aerosolize and fly through the air, but the majority of respiratory viruses are transmitted through what we call droplets, where people cough and sneeze and land somewhere,” Conway explained. And then you touch that space and touch your own face. Wearing a mask is one way to keep your hands away from your face. Hand hygiene is an extra layer.

Finding a mask that fits you well is also key, Stuart added. If you like your mask, you’ll be more likely to wear it, and you’ll be able to buy this wholesale winner.

The caveat is that masks can be expensive. Stuart advised checking to see if any organizations in your area give them away for free. In Washington, DC, for example, masks are available to anyone who wants them at local Covid centers. The CDC also has a tool that allows people to find Free N95s based on their zip code. A quick search showed CVS, Walgreens, local pharmacies and several large grocery chains are an important part of the program in more rural areas, which still suffer from limited access to vaccines.

If you manage to grab an N95 or KN95, you can use it until it’s visibly dirty, too loose, or falling apart – knowledge that lets you know it’s cool d stretch this mask for the week. “Masks are disposable but not single-use,” Stuart said. “You don’t need a new mask every day or for every interaction.”

Let outside air come inside and exhaust anything gross

If you share a home with someone who is sick, don’t be afraid to wear a mask indoors or open a window to help ventilate the space.

“This week my daughter was sick and I now wear a mask inside the house when I’m with her,” Stuart said. “We hope we’ve learned over the past couple of years to better appreciate ventilation and prevent the spread – whether that’s cracking windows a bit or wearing masks, especially in larger groups.”

You can also circulate the air throughout your home by placing a fan in the window, turning on the exhaust fan on the stove or in the bathroom, which helps to move the air outside the house, or getting a HEPA air filter if you can afford it. A humidifier could also be useful, as the coronavirus does not like humid air.

Set the tone with your friends and family

Setting boundaries with your loved ones isn’t always easy, but it benefits everyone to do so during this triple outbreak. So don’t feel guilty about turning down invites to crowded parties or not allowing someone who hasn’t been vaccinated to attend a gathering you’re hosting.

Also, requiring a flu and Covid vaccination, or a rapid test before arrival, might not be that important to them anyway.

“I’ve been kind of happy with some of the invites I’ve gotten for social gatherings where people say they expect everyone to be vaccinated,” Conway said. “Where it would have been considered provocative in the past, I think it’s becoming a bit more normalized.”

Julia Craven is a writer who covers everything she thinks is cool, and she’s the mastermind behind it Make sensea wellness newsletter.

Even better is here to offer practical, in-depth advice to help you live a better life. Do you have a question about money and work; friends, family and community; or personal growth and health? Send us your question by filling out this form. We could make a story out of it.

Post a Comment