Two years after the pandemic began, as public health measures have been relaxed and schools and businesses have reopened, much of the country appears to be moving forward.
Nevertheless, the shorthorn The Editorial Board believes that while society has reopened, we still need to pay attention to health measures to protect against the pandemic to make life safer and healthier, especially with the arrival of the flu season.
At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urged the public to wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds to help prevent the spread of germs. Proper handwashing should be adopted as a personal and public safety measure.
Another way to be more health-conscious this fall is to wear masks in crowded public spaces. Precautions taken against COVID-19, such as wearing masks, likely led to a sharp decline in flu cases, according to the Harvard School of Public Health. The CDC recorded 1,316 positive cases of influenza between September 2020 and the end of January 2021, but recorded almost 130,000 positive cases of influenza during the same period the previous year.
While masking may be one of the most controversial methods of protection against viral and respiratory infections, all available evidence points to its effectiveness in reducing flu rates.
In addition, the flu can cause chills, coughs, fatigue, headaches, and vomiting, which can ruin your vacation plans and potentially infect family and friends. Wearing a mask in crowded places to reduce influenza infection rates is a small sacrifice to pay to stay healthy.
Staying home while sick can also help reduce the spread of germs and viruses. Respiratory illnesses like the flu and most cases of coronavirus can be highly contagious early on. Coughing and sneezing, often symptoms of COVID-19, the flu and the common cold, spread germs long distances, according to the CDC. Staying home when you’re sick can prevent the spread of germs to classmates and co-workers and allow everyone to lead a healthier life.
Getting vaccinated is also a way to be more health conscious. Since flu activity typically increases in October, it’s important to stay vigilant about your health. The flu vaccine is 50% to 60% effective in healthy adults ages 18 to 64, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Also, with the spread of COVID-19, getting vaccinated can help protect the people around you. Both the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines have a 95% efficacy rate, according to Yale Medicine.
While it is essential to protect ourselves from viruses and infections, it is also important to recognize that people who are immunocompromised and people with disabilities depend on the general public to be vaccinated for their health.
Many people with disabilities and compromised immune systems are more likely to get sick from COVID-19, be sick for a longer period of time, or have serious illnesses due to underlying medical conditions, according to the CDC. Getting vaccinated can help protect the health of medically vulnerable people.
While some may say that we must get through the pandemic and that most people infected with COVID-19, the flu, or the common cold do not die from it, not dying should not be the optimal indicator of health.
There are real consequences in the spread of viruses and diseases. the shorthorn The Editorial Board believes that it is important to continue to be proactive in keeping our communities healthy and safe.
the shorthorn The Editorial Board is made up of opinion editor Hannah Ezell; chief editor Dang Le; news editor Steven Shaw; Jonathan Perriello, life and entertainment editor; design editor Claudia Humphrey; reporters José Romero and Ayesha Shaji.