How to enjoy the holidays while taking care of your health
In the midst of the festivities, it is normal for us to lower our guard regarding preventive and health care measures. With more relaxed COVID-19 restrictions, coupled with activities and parties, the chances of getting sick during this season tend to increase.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has focused its prevention messages on COVID-19 and stationary influenza. The latter continues to increase exponentially in several jurisdictions, including Puerto Rico. The local health department has urged people to get a flu vaccine after the number of cases surpassed 2,000 compared to the same time last year.
How to Prevent Seasonal Flu
CDC recommends annual flu vaccination as the first and most important step in protecting against flu viruses. The organization says that this season, all flu vaccines are designed to protect against four flu viruses that research indicates will be the most common.
In addition, they advise taking daily measures to reduce the likelihood of contagion. Some of these measures are:
Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
If you feel unwell, limit contact with other people as much as possible to avoid passing the infection to them.
Cover your mouth when coughing or sneezing.
Wash your hands often with water and soap.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. Germs spread this way.
Cleaning and disinfecting surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with the viruses that cause influenza.
Other respiratory diseases must be monitored
In addition to influenza, there are other respiratory conditions caused by viruses or bacteria that we must be aware of. COVID-19 cases continue to increase on the Island, according to numbers provided by the local Health Department, which indicate that the positivity percentage has exceeded 20% (ideally, it should remain below 5%).
The CDC recommends being up to date with vaccinations; especially with updated (bivalent) booster doses. Even if you have received a booster dose of the vaccine, the bivalent vaccine protects better against the more widely spread variant. In addition, health professionals advise that we individually reinforce prevention measures, such as:
Use of facemasks in closed environments or where many people are crowded.
Constant hand washing.
Stay home if you have symptoms such as cough, fever, nasal congestion, and body aches.
There has also been an increase in respiratory syncytial virus cases, mainly among minors.
The invitation is to enjoy the holidays, but with caution; taking into account that there are still risks of contagion of various respiratory conditions. The CDC also urges continued disease prevention through preventive action. By making healthy choices, you can lower your chances of having a chronic illness and improve your quality of life.
*Sources: CDC.gov, Puerto Rico Health Department