We’ve all dealt with COVID-19 as a constant presence in our lives since February. As we expected, it’s not going away completely until a vaccine is fully developed and distributed on a broad scale.
Unfortunately, that’s unlikely to happen before 2021, and because of the colder weather, we can reasonably expect an increase in cases as we head deeper into the fall and toward winter. We’re already seeing that in many places.
And for busy executives and businesspeople, economic uncertainty, employee health, pandemic fatigue and work-from-home issues have added another layer of stress. However, priority number one remains reducing your chances of contracting or spreading the virus.
So, what should you be doing to minimize your COVID-19 risk this fall and winter?
1. Keep doing what you’ve been doing — wear a mask, socially distance, wash your hands, avoid large crowds, etc.
These have all become staples of our everyday life, because they are the easiest and most effective ways to reduce your risk of contracting or spreading the virus. So don’t let up. Keep wearing your masks. Stay at least 6 feet away from people whenever possible. Wash your hands whenever you think about it (or use hand sanitizer). Avoid large crowds.
As the weather gets colder, we’ll be spending more time inside, which immediately raises the risk of contracting the virus, particularly if the building you are in has poor ventilation. Doubling down on these strategies to mitigate the spread remains incredibly important. It’s the first line of defense.
2. Get your flu shots (and other necessary vaccines).
Now is the time to get your flu shot. Not only will it protect you from the flu, which kills thousands of people every year, but it will also help reduce the burden on our medical providers dealing with both flu and COVID patients.
3. Keep COVID out of your home and your car.
We spend a lot of time in our homes and in our cars, so it’s important that we work to limit the risk of contracting or spreading the virus in those high-traffic areas.
Sanitize your hands before getting into your car. Wash your hands as soon as you walk in the door from being out and about. Regularly wipe down high-touch surfaces, such as doorknobs, light switches and faucets at home and door handles, steering wheel and gear shifters in the car. Don’t forget your desk and keyboard, whether you’re working in the office or at home.
4. Plan for the holidays.
The holidays are fast approaching, and with that comes family gatherings, holiday get-togethers, and maybe even company parties. Start thinking now about what you can do to reduce your risk during the holidays.
That giant 50-plus person holiday reunion you have every year? Definitely not such a good idea right now. Consider smaller in-person groups of 10 or fewer or a virtual Zoom get-together.
Able to enjoy a meal outside? Definitely take advantage of that and move the party outdoors. And with any kind of gathering, make sure masks are available and worn, especially indoors, and people are washing their hands. Of course, encourage anyone who feels even just a little sick to sit this one out.
5. Make improving your health a priority.
The best way to increase your body’s resilience to COVID-19 is to make it healthier. Eat better food. Exercise regularly. Get a good night’s sleep. These things help boost your immune system so that your body is as prepared as possible to defend itself. And as we enter the fall and winter, it remains more important than ever.
The first step might be sitting down with your doctor. That’s where concierge medicine can be beneficial. Because concierge doctors see fewer patients, they have more time to develop meaningful, personal relationships with their patients. It’s one of the primary differences between concierge medicine and traditional primary care. Your doctor has time to view your entire health picture, including your personal risk factors and lifestyle, and develop a personalized plan to help you stay healthy this fall and winter. Interested in concierge medicine in Greenville? Visit www.partnermd.com to learn more.