Currently in the midst of the worst pandemic of the century, we are about to enter into flu season, and experts are seriously concerned about what will happen when COVID-19 coincides with the other highly infectious and potentially deadly virus. During a news conference conducted by the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, explained that now, more than ever, it is crucial for the public to take "everyday preventative actions" to stop the spread of germs.
Here is everything we can do to simultaneously stop the spread of COVID-19 along with influenza. Read on, and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.
Wear a Mask
Dr. Fauci urges the importance of wearing a mask or face covering when in public, as it is one of the most effective ways of preventing the spread of COVID-19.
Another crucial preventive measure is social distancing. Fauci suggests "maintaining a physical distance of at least 6 feet," from others.
Fauci has emphasized time and again to "avoid crowds and congregate settings." One of the worst places to go, according to the top infectious disease doctor? Bars, where social distancing and mask wearing are virtually impossible.
Despite the dropping temperatures, Dr. Fauci reminds that the outdoors are better than indoors. This is due to the fact that the virus can be spread via aerosol transmission, floating and lingering in the air — especially when indoors.
Practicing diligent hand hygiene, both wash hands frequently and using hand sanitizer, can help kill the influenza virus well as COVID if you come into contact with it.
Avoiding Touching Face
If you do come into contact with influenza or COVID, you can avoid infection by keeping your hands away from your eyes, nose, mouth — all potential entry points for the viruses.
Make sure to clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces to avoid coming into contact with potentially infected surfaces.
Stay Home When Sick
If you do feel sick and aren't sure if it is the cold, flu, or COVID-19, stay home, orders Dr. Fauci.
Take Flu Medication
If diagnosed with flu, take flu antiviral medication if prescribed. "Ask your doctor about antiviral medications, because we do have good anti-flu medication," Fauci noted, adding that "there are four FDA approved antiviral drugs, which are recommended by the CDC." He specified that this is increasingly important for anyone "who's vulnerable and elderly individuals, someone with an underlying disease."
Get a Flu Shot
"Get a flu vaccine to protect yourself, your loved ones, and your community—and to protect frontline healthcare professionals and to reduce additional strain on the healthcare system," Fauci urged in his slideshow. "Everybody six months of age or older should get an annual flu vaccine," he added during the presentation. He offered three reasons why the flu shot is so crucial. The first, is that "if you are vaccinated, you are less likely to get the flu." And, "even if you do get sick, flu vaccination can reduce the severity and the duration of illness, and importantly can help to keep you out of the hospital," he added. Finally, "by getting vaccinated, you can prevent the spread of flu to those of you around you, who are at greatest risk of becoming seriously ill." And to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.