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Coronavirus and Flu Are Spreading Simultaneously: Here’s What You Can Do to Help Prevent Both

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Posted on March 7, 2020

A new virus that emerged from Wuhan, China, coronavirus disease 2019, or COVID-19 for short, is circulating around the world. At the same time, seasonal flu (influenza) is also spreading, which has caused millions of illnesses and thousands of hospitalizations and deaths.

Many of the same methods for preventing seasonal flu can also be used to help slow the spread of COVID-19. Here are some simple, actionable steps to take to help prevent both flu and COVID-19:

1. Wash your hands

While it sounds simple, this method can help prevent the spread of many illnesses. Experts suggest that you lather your hands with any type of soap for at least 20 seconds. If you don’t have access to soap or running water, alcohol-based sanitizers can be used. Some examples of when you should wash your hands include:

  • After coughing or sneezing
  • When caring for someone who is sick
  • Before, during, and after preparing food
  • Before eating
  • After using the bathroom

2. Stay up-to-date on all vaccinations

Some viruses can make you susceptible to other illnesses. For example, people who are sick with flu can be more susceptible to contracting pneumonia because your immune system is already compromised. It’s important to ensure your immunizations are current so that if you do become ill, you have protection against illnesses that are vaccine-preventable. Although there is currently no vaccine available to protect against COVID-19, there are vaccines for flu, pneumonia, and Haemophilus influenza type B (Hib).

3. Avoid close contact with sick people and stay home if you’re sick

Respiratory illnesses like flu and COVID-19 can be transmitted through tiny droplets in the air when someone coughs, sneezes, or talks. These droplets can travel as far as 3 – 6 feet so try to avoid being around people who are visibly sick. To help prevent the spread of any illness, stay home when you’re sick to avoid exposing other people. Of course, one exception is to leave home to seek medical care. When possible, keep kids home from school and stay home from work if you are symptomatic and reach out to a trusted healthcare professional to find out if medical attention is required. 

4. Clean and disinfect surfaces at home, school, and work

Some viruses can live on hard surfaces for up to 48 hours and these viruses can enter our bodies when we touch our face, specifically our mouth, nose, and eyes. Regularly clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces to help prevent the spread of germs.

 

To stay up-to-date on COVID-19, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.

 

Sources:

https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public

https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public/myth-busters

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/prevention-treatment.html

 

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