It is hard to believe autumn has arrived and the holiday season is right around the corner. As you know, with colder weather comes peak flu activity, and the world is still dealing with the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Health officials are warning Americans to take certain precautions as these two viruses collide in hopes that the healthcare system will not be overburdened. While we continue to navigate the ongoing pandemic, it’s important to take extra steps in order to stay healthy and well this fall.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says because of this pandemic, reducing the spread of flu-like illnesses this fall and winter is “more important than ever.” Although there is certainly much more to learn about the novel coronavirus, health officials say it is possible to simultaneously contract the flu and COVID-19. The CDC and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recommend the following tips for a healthy fall:
- Individuals 6 months and older are encouraged to get a flu vaccination before October 31.
- Wash your hands often with soap and clean water for 20 seconds.
- Avoid spreading germs by not touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Cover your mouth or nose when you cough or sneeze.
- Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated.
- If you have a fever, stay home for at least 24 hours.
- Avoid close contact with those who are sick.
Another way to help slow the spread of germs during flu season is to follow the guidelines implemented by our public officials. Governor Kay Ivey recently announced a five-week extension to the Safer at Home order now expiring on Sunday, November 8. This current public health order includes an extension to the statewide mask mandate, which went into effect in July. Health experts, including White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx, say the mandatory mask ordinance has saved many lives in Alabama.
Over the past few weeks, Alabama has made real progress. The number of daily new cases and hospitalizations are decreasing, and there was no surge in cases following the Labor Day weekend. Let’s work together to keep up this significant progress. Please continue to adhere to all state and local guidelines to protect your families and your communities this fall.
Martha Roby represents Alabama’s Second Congressional District. She lives in Montgomery, Alabama, with her husband Riley and their two children.