Every time you turn around, another story about COVID-19 is in the news. Too often, the stories are negative.
But here’s some good news: there is an unanticipated silver lining that living through a pandemic has brought us.
Pandemic precautions fight more than COVID-19
We’ve all been asked to get vaccinated against COVID-19. However, before the vaccine was available, we received important guidance from medical experts about protecting ourselves and our communities.
In short, we have been asked to:
- Stay a minimum of six feet away from others
- Wash or sanitize our hands often
- Be sure to “mask up”
The importance of clean hands is nothing new; it just became even more important during the pandemic. But wearing masks and social distancing have been new concepts for the average American. Here’s where the silver lining comes in: now that we’ve been taking these precautions, we found that we’ve been getting other illnesses less frequently.
Consider this information from a study published in the Journal of Hospital Medicine. Researchers compared the number of children who were hospitalized for all types of respiratory illnesses pre-pandemic to those hospitalized during the pandemic. Looking at data from 44 pediatric hospitals, they found the number of children hospitalized for respiratory illnesses dropped by 62 percent!
Not as many adults got sick, either. Lab-confirmed flu cases suddenly decreased in April 2020, which was several weeks after the pandemic was declared and authorities had begun asking all of us to take basic precautions. In fact, it seems that lockdowns and accompanying precautions made the 2020 flu season more than a month shorter than usual.
Our new, powerful toolbox
The great news is that all the precautions we’ve been practicing because of COVID-19 can also help keep us safe from the common cold, stomach viruses, bronchitis, flu, strep throat and other infectious diseases. You now have a powerful toolbox with tools that can protect you at any time.
Remember, even if you’re fully vaccinated against COVID-19, sometimes it will be a good idea to use these tools for protection against illness:
- Whenever you’ll be near an individual with a chronic illness or condition that affects their immune system
- When COVID-19 is active in your community – especially a COVID-19 variant such as Delta
- When you’re around a large number of people
- Whenever a health care facility, business or other entity asks you to
In addition, please wear your mask any time you’re feeling sick. This will help prevent potential illness from spreading to other people. Even if it’s only a minor cold, people will be glad they avoided catching it! Thanks to a few simple precautions, you’ll be on your way to healthier fall and winter months.
One last tip is to stay in touch with your primary care provider. They’re there to care for you when you’re sick, help you stay up to date with important medical screenings and support your regular health needs.
Learn about the primary care services we offer and find a provider near you.
Also, getting vaccinated for COVID-19 is the best way you can avoid severe illness and protect those around you. Learn more about our ministry’s COVID-19 vaccine efforts.