10 COVID-19 Prevention Tips for This Winter
The winter season is here, and with the Coronavirus pandemic still rampant, it raises a lot of concern and challenges regarding COVID-19 transmissions and cross infection. As people will be interacting more often indoors in places with poor ventilation, the risk of transmission will naturally and inevitably increase. The now open schools and offices and much-awaited holiday celebrations are only expected to make this situation worse. Not to forget, with another deadly virus—the flu—now in its full swing, experts are worried that the winter may lead to a surge in respiratory illnesses this winter, especially COVID-19 cases.
All these concerns have led many to wonder how the winter seasons will shape out this year. As a result, it is crucial to stay careful and take all the necessary precautions for the next few months.
COVID-19 Prediction for This Winter: How Bad It Can Get
This year, the looming flu season is now coupled with the Coronavirus pandemic. With COVID-19 cases rising again across the country, this winter season seems highly unpredictable and concerning.
Both flu and COVID-19 viruses are likely to spread substantially during this winter season. In-person gatherings during Christmas and New Year holidays could only turn out to be community spread events if not taken care of by the masses. Healthcare systems could become overwhelmed due to treating patients suffering from one or both of the diseases and their related complications. Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, during an interview with the Journal JAMA Network, said, “I do not know…nor can anyone know what the winter is going to bring.”
Despite a partial lockdown continuing in most places, the number of people infected by COVID-19 appears to be resurging. As a result, most medical experts have cautioned against relaxing safety norms like wearing masks, following social distance measures, getting flu shots, and much more.
Experts have also expressed their concern regarding the likely explosion of coronavirus spread during holiday celebrations and recommended making innovations to holiday celebrations, like using Zoom for gift exchanges, cooking at home, and downsizing holiday gatherings. “We’re up against a lot of challenges this winter,” said Lawrence Palinkas, professor of social work, anthropology, and preventive medicine. “We’re going to need to remain vigilant and prepared because this winter, the hardest part of the pandemic is yet to come,” he added.
How to Prevent COVID-19 This Winter: CDC Recommended Tips and Advice
Robert Redfield, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), has urged people to follow public health guidelines due to over 8.7 million cases, 225,000+ deaths, and the flu season around the corner. The country could potentially face “the worst winter, from a public health perspective, we’ve ever had,” he said during an interview with WebMD.
Following are 10 recommended tips from experts to prevent COVID-19 this winter:
1. Wash your hands frequently: Make a habit of washing your hands frequently, for at least 20 seconds, with soap and water. This is especially important after going to public places, coughing or blowing your nose, before eating meals, after caring for someone ill, and so on. Be sure to promote hand and health hygiene in schools and workplaces.
2. Use a mask to cover your nose and mouth when around people: Always wear a mask in public settings, especially when it is not feasible to maintain social distancing measures.
3. Practice social distancing: Keep a distance of at least 6 feet between you and other people who don’t belong to your household, in both outdoor and indoor spaces. At home, avoid close contact with people who are ill.
4. Regularly clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces: Surfaces, such as doorknobs, countertops, phones, switches, and handles that are touched frequently should be cleaned and disinfected regularly. Schools and workplaces should especially keep their tables, desks, doorknobs, water taps, and other shared areas, disinfected, and hygienic.
5. Cover your mouth and nose while coughing or sneezing: While coughing or sneezing, cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or use the inside of your elbow. Do not spit anywhere and dispose of the used tissues in a bin. Wash your hands immediately with soap and water, or use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
6. Monitor your health daily: Watch out for symptoms like cough, fever, and breathlessness. Check your temperature if you experience any symptoms. Monitoring your health daily is your best chance at learning about your infection quickly and stop yourself from spreading it to others in your family and community.
7. Stay away from crowds and gatherings as much as possible: Stay away from bars or places that are crowded such as outdoor functions, events, or gatherings. If you must go out, wear your mask at all times and practice physical distancing.
8. Wear gloves while caring for the sick: While wearing gloves is not necessary as you run errands like shopping or using the ATM, the CDC recommends wearing gloves while cleaning or caring for someone who is ill. Wash your hands after removing the gloves, and throw disposable gloves in the trash bin. Do not reuse them.
9. Quarantine yourself when exposed: Self-quarantine if you feel you have been exposed to COVID-19. Situations when you should consider self-quarantine:
- You came in close contact with someone who has COVID-19.
- You offered care to someone ill with COVID -19.
- Someone with COVID-19 coughed or sneezed on you.
- You shared drinking or eating utensils with them.
- You had direct physical contact with them.
10. Get your flu shot: While this vaccine won’t protect you from COVID-19, it will reduce the risk of flu complications, hospitalization, and death, thereby lessening the burden on you and the entire healthcare system.[Related post: Flu Shot During COVID-19: What You Need to Know]
For more information about the COVID-19 prevention tips during this winter or about this season’s flu shot, please visit one of our urgent care centers in Orange County, CA.
If you need to see a doctor, but you can’t go out of your home, you can schedule a virtual care appointment with our providers and get seen today! We can treat a wide range of minor medical conditions over a video call, and also often prescribe medications online.
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