CDC shares 3 steps to keep you healthy as RSV, flu and COVID surge
Cases of flu, RSV and COVID-19 are all alarmingly high, but vaccination rates are down compared to this time last year, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said in a recent news briefing. Dr. Walensky asked everyone to take three steps to stay healthy and prevent the spread of these potentially life-threatening illnesses.
- Get vaccinated. Dr. Walensky said this year’s influenza vaccine is “a very good match” to the strains currently circulating and it’s not too late to get it. She also encouraged everyone to receive the new bivalent COVID-19 vaccine, which she said is safe and effective at preventing severe COVID-19.
- Take everyday actions to prevent the spread of illness. This includes covering your coughs and sneezes, staying away from people who are sick, staying home if you’re sick, washing your hands often, and improving ventilation in your home and workplaces. Dr. Walensky also recommended wearing a mask if you have symptoms of respiratory illness, if you’re immunocompromised or at increased risk of severe disease, or if you’re in an area where the risk of transmission is high, such as on public transportation. KN-95s are the recommended masks to help prevent the spread of viral illnesses.
- If you’re at particular risk of severe illness because of things like age, chronic medical conditions or being immunocompromised, contact your doctor for care early. “There are prescription antivirals to treat both flu and COVID-19, and these treatments are especially important for people who are at higher risk of complications from respiratory disease,” Dr. Walensky said. “Talk to your healthcare provider as soon as you have symptoms so these treatments can be started within the first few days of illness when they’re most effective.”
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The flu vaccine and the COVID vaccine are both covered with no out-of-pocket cost by most Regence plans. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about getting vaccinated.
If you get sick and need care, call your primary care provider or consider virtual care or an urgent care clinic before heading to the emergency room. Emergency rooms are by far the most expensive option and they’re extremely busy right now so wait times will be long. Visit regence.com for help finding the right care option.