A one-two punch of COVID-19 and the flu is placing California, sickening residents — some so severely they’ve needed to go to the hospital — interrupting day by day life and threatening to upend vacation plans.
However whereas each ailments are spreading broadly, officers stress that Californians aren’t powerless. There are steps everybody can take to raised defend themselves and people round them.
Listed below are some suggestions:
Get your photographs
Vaccines can be found for COVID-19 and the flu — and officers say rolling up your sleeve is a potent approach to thrust back extreme sickness.
The up to date COVID-19 booster shot grew to become out there in September, however most individuals haven’t gotten it. Statewide, 19.4% of eligible residents have acquired the extra dose, in accordance with the California Division of Public Well being.
The brand new bivalent booster is formulated to guard not solely towards the unique coronavirus pressure, however the Omicron subvariants that dominated the nation all through a lot of the 12 months — particularly BA.5.
“Getting that up to date bivalent vaccine is the only most necessary factor you are able to do to verify immunity is updated and that you may combat the virus that’s on the market,” stated Dr. Ashish Jha, the White Home COVID-19 response coordinator.
Amongst UC San Francisco staff and college students, 1 in 100 individuals who have gotten the up to date COVID-19 booster have since come down with a coronavirus an infection. However amongst those that haven’t gotten the shot, 1 in 20 have been contaminated, Dr. Ralph Gonzales, a UC San Francisco affiliate dean, stated at a current campus city corridor.
“When you’ve gotten good pressure match with the booster and the vaccine, you truly do forestall fairly a little bit of an infection,” Gonzales stated.
It’s additionally not too late to get your main COVID vaccine collection. In October, unvaccinated Californians have been two instances extra prone to turn out to be contaminated and be hospitalized with COVID-19 and thrice extra prone to die from the illness than their vaccinated counterparts, state information present.
The flu shot can be very effectively matched to the circulating flu strains this season, officers say.
“As a result of any case of influenza can find yourself being extreme, particularly when it spreads to people who find themselves at excessive threat — and this consists of older adults and younger kids — we do ask that you realize that it’s not too late to get your seasonal flu shot,” Los Angeles County Public Well being Director Barbara Ferrer stated.
Officers additionally word residents can get each the flu vaccine and COVID-19 vaccine on the identical time.
“It’s very easy. It’s completely secure. It really works. Your immune system is superb at having the ability to deal with two vaccines without delay,” Jha stated Friday.
Wash your fingers, cowl your coughs and sneezes
It sounds easy, nevertheless it’s true. Many viral sicknesses, together with flu and respiratory syncytial virus — or RSV — are unfold by means of contact, reminiscent of making contact with a contaminated floor after which your face.
“Spend a minimum of 20 seconds scrubbing with cleaning soap and water, or use a hand sanitizer if you happen to don’t have entry to cleaning soap and water,” Ferrer stated.
It’s additionally a good suggestion to disinfect generally touched surfaces, Gonzales stated.
Avoiding touching your face as a lot as doable can be a good suggestion. Flu may be transmitted by touching a virus-contaminated floor after which touching your hand, eye or mouth.
“Excellent research have proven that if we are able to double down our efforts to be vigilant about this, that may enhance our probabilities of staying flu free,” Gonzales stated.
The coronavirus, however, is primarily transmitted by means of the air — particularly when an contaminated individual coughs or sneezes. That’s why it’s necessary to cowl your face, utilizing one thing like your elbow or a tissue, while you sneeze or cough.
Urge sick individuals to remain residence
It’s a bummer to cancel occasions, particularly after the interruptions during the last two years, however even a tickle within the throat or feeling below the climate must be a loud warning signal to remain residence.
Take a fast check earlier than an occasion
A coronavirus fast check will help establish asymptomatic people who find themselves contaminated and contagious earlier than attending a gathering. The technique just isn’t foolproof, however it could possibly assist — particularly if the check is taken as shut as doable to the beginning of an occasion.
Take social occasions outdoors or open a window
There’s a lowered threat of viral transmission when occasions are held open air. It’s higher to supply drinks and meals outdoors, if doable. Bettering air flow by opening doorways and home windows, or utilizing an air air purifier, may assist.
Officers and consultants say carrying a masks in indoor public settings can scale back the danger of an infection, each from COVID-19 and different respiratory sicknesses, by blocking the respiratory particles that may unfold illness.
“Carrying a masks in indoor public locations, amongst different security measures, successfully slows the unfold of respiratory viruses that make kids and the aged very sick,” in accordance with the California Division of Public Well being.
Masking may “considerably gradual the unfold and defend infants and younger kids who should not have immunity and are too younger to put on a masks themselves,” the division wrote on Twitter this week.
Sleep, train and handle stress
As Gonzales famous, “Through the vacation interval … we are inclined to get actually busy with work, and with this surge, we now have lots of inactivity and stress.”
“And what we all know from research of medical college students earlier than finals, and with marathon runners, is that stress —whether or not it’s psychological stress or bodily stress — does enhance your threat of getting contaminated with respiratory viruses. And that threat will increase two- to three-fold,” Gonzales stated.
He steered ensuring to apply these good well being habits:
• Get loads of sleep.
• Be bodily energetic.
• Handle your stress.
• Drink loads of fluids.
• Eat nutritious meals.
Vitamin C might assist
Vitamin C may assist stave off infections.
Gonzales stated he’s a long-distance runner, and 50% to 70% of the time when long-distance runners get colds and flus is after massive occasions.
“Randomized trials present that 1,000 milligrams of vitamin C, as soon as a day, will help lower that threat in half,” Gonzales stated. “After which there’s additionally been research of vitamin C in individuals, earlier than finals, who’ve had lack of sleep and many stress, to indicate that it additionally helps with that.”