November Health Tips and National Observations
Here’s some news you can use for November 2020!
It’s That Time of the Year Again: Flu Season
The arrival of the fall and winter months signals many things, including flu season. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), flu activity peaks between December and February. It’s likely that flu viruses and the virus that causes COVID-19 will both spread this fall and winter.
Many symptoms of the common cold, the flu and COVID-19 are similar, so learn how to differentiate between them below.
The flu vaccine is your best chance of preventing the illness, and it’s more important than ever this year. Currently, the CDC recommends an annual flu vaccine for anyone over 6 months of age.
In addition to getting your vaccine, there are some other ways to help protect yourself during this flu season. Avoid close contact with people who are sick, and stay home when you’re sick. It’s critical to continue good hygiene by covering your coughs and sneezes, and washing your hands. Safety measures made a positive impact on flu cases earlier this year, and they will continue to be crucial as we enter flu season.
Get Your Flu Shot
If you’re unsure about getting a flu vaccine, here are some reasons why it’s especially important amid the pandemic:
- Reduces risk of contracting both viruses at the same time—Battling simultaneous flu and COVID-19 infections could be much worse than battling either alone. Nobody knows what to expect until it happens—and then it’s too late.
- Eliminates symptom confusion between the flu and COVID-19—You’ll be less likely to get flu symptoms like fever, cough and body aches. Those are symptoms that could be confused for COVID-19.
- Reduces strain on the medical system—The flu and COVID-19 are both respiratory illnesses, so they rely on some of the same life-saving hospital equipment.
If you’re worried about staying healthy this flu season, please contact your doctor.
COVID-19 vs. Flu vs. Cold—Which Is It?
As expected during the pandemic, every cough, sneeze or throat tickle may give you cause for concern. Many symptoms of the common cold, the flu and COVID-19 are similar—making it difficult to distinguish between them. Different viruses cause each of these illnesses, which means there are different symptoms.
- COVID-19—The most common three symptoms to keep in mind are fever, dry cough and shortness of breath.
- Flu—If you feel fine one day and miserable the next, it may be the flu. Common symptoms include cough, fatigue, fever or chills, headaches, body aches, runny or stuffy nose, sore throat, vomiting and diarrhea.
- Common cold—Most importantly, you won’t have a fever with a cold. Typically, symptoms of the common cold come on gradually, and may start with a sore throat or irritated sinuses.
One key difference between the illnesses is a symptom of COVID-19—shortness of breath. If you are concerned about your symptoms, call your doctor. The only way to confirm your illness is to get tested.
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EAT WELL, LIVE WELL
Replacing unhealthy eating habits with healthier ones can be difficult, especially if unhealthy habits are all you have ever known. One key to making lasting improvements in your diet is to make changes in stages. Start with a small, simple change and stick to it for a week. After mastering one change, add another.
Here Are Some Ideas to Get You Started:
- Eat breakfast.
- Replace one sugary drink per day with a glass of water.
- Eat one to two more fruits or vegetables each day.
- Plan a healthy snack for each day of the week.
- Switch to a low-fat version of one of your favorite foods.
- Plan three meals and two snacks every day.
- Plan as many home-cooked meals as you can, as they usually have fewer calories, more reasonable portions and cost less than typical meals eaten at restaurants.
Set an Example
Parents play a big role in guiding their children’s eating habits with the examples they set, the foods they make available in the home and the mealtime experiences that they create for their families.
Offer healthy snacks such as fruit, low-fat cottage cheese or yogurt, frozen juice bars, applesauce, celery, apples with peanut butter, raw vegetables, graham crackers, fig bars or whole wheat crackers with low-fat cheese. Large portions contain too many calories.
A good-sized snack for a typical adult may be a single serving container of yogurt, but for a preschooler, two or three tablespoons of yogurt is enough.
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