This year, as cold and flu season converges with the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s important to take precautions to help prevent the spread of illness and infection both in and out of the home.
The similarities between cold, flu and COVID-19 symptoms can be confusing, and a spike in the seasonal flu could place additional strain on already tight health care resources. To help ease confusion and provide guidance, Dr. Darria Long-Gillespie, ER physician and Clorox spokesperson, outlined these best practices that can help keep you and your family healthy.
Develop a Household Plan: Make sure everyone in your household and immediate family is on the same page about how to best prevent the spread of illness within your home. Consider an informal “household contract,” where each member will alert the household if he or she comes in contact with an infected person or starts showing symptoms. This is important to help protect everyone in the house as well as visitors to your home, particularly those who are at-risk (such as older relatives) and can allow you time to prepare should any family member need to self-quarantine.
Don’t Skip the Flu Shot: Your first line of protection against illness is a flu shot, which not only reduces your risk of getting the flu, but also helps protect your community and conserve health care resources. This is especially important this year, since some of the symptoms of COVID-19 and the flu overlap and can be difficult to tell apart. Because accessing the flu vaccine may be more challenging this year for many Americans due to the pandemic, Clorox has donated $1 million to Direct Relief, Visiting Nurses Association of America and Families Fighting Flu to help provide access to, and spread awareness of, the importance of flu vaccinations.
Maintain Regular Healthy Habits: One of the best defenses is a good offense, and the same is true when preparing for cold and flu season. Aiming for a well-balanced diet full of non-processed foods, staying hydrated, exercising and keeping a regular sleep schedule are all keys to keeping illness at bay. Disinfecting high-touch surfaces with a disinfectant that’s approved by the Environmental Protection Agency to kill SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, can also help support prevention, especially if you have members of the household leaving frequently for work or school.
Attend Necessary Medical Appointments: It’s important for you and your family to attend annual physical exams and other necessary medical appointments – whether it’s virtually or while following appropriate safety precautions in person. These checkups are crucial for keeping up to date on your prescriptions and general well-being, identifying any potential medical issues and monitoring recurring issues. Contact your doctor’s office to see if it is open for in-person or telehealth appointments in order to make the best decision for receiving care for you and your family.
Create Prevention Packs: Keep illness prevention items, such as face masks, hand sanitizer, disposable gloves and disinfecting wipes, in one centralized spot at home. Also keep additional kits in easy-to-reach areas like the center console of your vehicle or inside your purse or backpack for when you’re on the go.
Find more tips for fighting illness this cold and flu season at Clorox.com.