5 Steps to Stay Healthy this Winter
by Jake Newby
| 3 min read
As COVID-19 continues to spread and respiratory illnesses are more common in the winter, keeping yourself and your loved ones safe during this second pandemic winter by taking proper precautions is vital.
Get a Flu Shot
In addition to COVID-19, Michigan is dealing with an uptick in cases of other respiratory illnesses like influenza (the flu). Flu activity peaks yearly between December and February, so if you haven’t gotten your shot now, it’s not too late to do so. Getting the flu shot helps most people avoid becoming seriously ill from the flu and will consequently avoid a hospital stay, which is particularly important right now. Healthcare facilities and healthcare workers are once again strained due to the sharp incline of COVID-19 related hospitalizations in Michigan.
Get the Vaccine or Booster Shot
You can safely get a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and the flu shot at the same time, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Everyone age 5 and older is now eligible to get their free COVID-19 vaccine. The CDC also deemed it safe to get your flu shot and COVID-19 booster shot at the same time. Most Americans completed their initial COVID vaccine series about six months ago, meaning the time is right to get their booster shot. While COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalization, and death, over time, immunity levels against the virus can wane. Booster shots are effective in driving up antibodies and thus maintaining protection against the disease.
If In Doubt, Get a COVID Test
People from multiple households and sometimes multiple states tend to gather in relatively small, indoor spaces during holiday parties, which creates the perfect environment for transmitting COVID-19. If you have symptoms of COVID-19 either before or after a holiday gathering – or if you believe you’ve been exposed to the virus and are not vaccinated– you should get tested for COVID-19. And if you’re sick, stay home from an event to prevent spreading your illness, no matter if it’s COVID-19 or not.
Mix in At-Home Exercise Routines
Exercising outdoors is becoming difficult as the harsh Michigan winter sets in, so more active people are naturally turning to the gym. As statewide COVID-19 cases climb, we encourage you to incorporate at-home workouts into your weekly fitness regimen. The more crowded the gym, the higher the risk of COVID-19 transmission, so consider keeping your odds of contraction down by doing ab workouts or yoga at home here and there. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan offers a surplus of virtual workout discounts for members through Blue365deals.com.
Don’t Ditch the Masks
The Michigan Health Department issued a face mask advisory just before Thanksgiving to prevent the spread of respiratory illnesses during the holidays. Though people may be sick of wearing masks, now is no time to discard them; The use of face masks can significantly reduce the spread of viruses, including COVID-19. Regardless of vaccination status, Michiganders in indoor public settings are advised to wear a face mask. In general, you do not need to wear masks outdoors, and infants under the age of 2 should not wear masks. More content:
- Exercise After COVID: Michigan Runner Races Again After ‘Severe’ Bout with Virus
- Parenting in a Pandemic: Reaching Worry Fatigue
- Donating Blood and COVID-19: Who’s Eligible and What to Know
Photo credit: Getty Images