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Drew: What Happens if the Perfect COVID-19 Storm Strikes Your Family?

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By Samuetta Hill Drew

Last week the safety article’s focus was on being COVID-19 prepared for a possible perfect storm. Some in the medical community reference contracting the flu and COVID-19 the perfect storm because both will be prevalent this fall and winter season.

The recent Nov. 3 election did not end COVID-19, which is evident in the new coronavirus numbers being seen daily. The numbers are increasing, not ceasing. Last week’s article outlined preventive steps Americans could possibly take to stay healthy this fall and winter season during what could become a perfect storm.

Recently I was shocked and concerned to learn two people I know well have tested positive for COVID-19. Both are under 50 years of age. The younger of the two individuals stated she thought it was her sinus or allergy. She stated she suffers with these symptoms every year, so she was not initially concerned. She was shocked to test positive for COVID-19. Since both COVID and the flu are contagious respiratory illnesses, how can a person distinguish between the two? Unfortunately, the short answer the medical community tells us is, you cannot.

So, the question becomes, if you have symptoms what should you do? Contact your doctor and stay at home if you or a family member has a fever, cough, congestion, sneezing, sore throat, runny nose, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or any other symptoms of infectious illness. It is recommended you follow the doctor’s orders. It is highly likely the doctor will recommend that you are tested for the flu and COVID-19.

Many have raised the concern asking if you can contract both the flu and COVID-19 at the same time, the perfect storm we referenced. Unfortunately, like last week’s article stated the answer is yes. The medical community believes if an individual has the coronavirus COVID-19 and the flu at the same time, the resulting impact could be even more severe than having either infection alone.

Therefore, it is important for people to take the flu shot. September or October are the recommended months to get a flu shot. Since both months have passed, know it is not too late to get one now. Remember all the members of your family, including the children, should possibly receive a flu shot. It is important to ensure their safety also, especially with many returning to some form of in-person mode of learning. This applies to children over six months old. It is commonly believed by the medical community they need flu shots and any other appropriate vaccines to help keep them healthy and safe. Always consult with your doctor first.

The all-important basic precautions such as washing your hands frequently, cleaning and sanitizing, wearing face mask and practice physical distancing, remain essential for everyone. You should also take additional steps to remain healthy which includes good nutrition, plenty of rest, proper hydration, regular exercise, and stress management.

I know many are fatigued and stressed because of COVID-19, but to Keep an Eye on Safety is important. Now is the time for everyone to continue to keep up the good work and encourage family members and friends to do the same by following the coronavirus COVID-19 recommended precautions and guidelines.