According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), seasonal flu activity is high across the country. Some are referring to the triple threat as it being a tripledemic season. Yet, that's not the only issue people are dealing with because there are also many cases of COVID and common respiratory viruses that send people to urgent care centers. People must know how to protect themselves this winter.
“It’s getting serious to the point that pediatricians in Minnesota are calling for people to think about alternatives of where they should go for help, and to try and avoid ERs and overcrowded urgent cares,” explains Jim Riggen, co-founder of LX Medical, a mobile health-care provider. “We are happy to be a part of that solution, helping people while they are in the comfort of their own homes."
The CDC reports that so far this flu season, nearly nine million people have contracted it, 78,000 hospitalizations and 4,500 deaths. In addition to getting vaccines to help ward off such illnesses, there are other things people can do to increase their protection.
Here are ways to protect yourself this winter from flu, respiratory virus infections and COVID:
- Avoid having close contact with those who are sick. If there is no other option, wear a mask and be sure to do the other prevention tips as well.
- Learn some self-triage, including purchasing a pulse oximeter, so the information can be reported to medical professionals through telemedicine appointments and over the phone. Knowing how to take basic vitals can be helpful. Also, treat fevers that are over 100.4 F, make sure to stay hydrated, assess overall energy levels, and track the progress of any illness. It’s important to know if there is improvement in symptoms.
- Keep hands clean by washing them with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Make it a goal to avoid touching the face with hands that have not been washed.
- Always cover up coughs and sneezes to keep the germs from spreading. This can be done with a tissue, arm sleeve, etc.
- Keep surfaces cleaned that are frequently touched, such as door knobs.
- If someone in the home contracts one of the illnesses, opt for an urgent care house call rather than go out and expose more people to it.
- Aim to keep your immune system healthy by eating healthy, exercising, staying hydrated and getting plenty of rest.
- Watch out for red flags and if they are present, call for medical care. They include being lethargic or not responding as usual, having a rapid breathing rate, a low urine output, the inability to take in liquids or solids for any reason, etc.
“As a mother of three, I know the frustrations of trying to get yourself or your child into an urgent care when they are ill,” explains Aundria Riggen, co-founder of LX Medical. “Returning to house calls will help everyone to get the care they need when they need it.”
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