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Staying Healthy over the Holidays

The last few holiday seasons have been a blur of social distancing, masks, and safety warnings. Now that the COVID-19 health emergency has ended, it’s a little safer to get together, but we still need to take precautions. Not only is the coronavirus still a risk, but the flu and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) can also cause serious health problems. 

Shopping, travel, parties, religious services, school pageants, and family gatherings will expose us to crowds, and therefore to illness. So, here’s our advice for keeping you and your family healthy all season long.

Understanding the Viruses

Here are the major viruses spreading this winter:

  • Influenza (Flu) — The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by the influenza virus. Symptoms can range from mild to severe and include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, and fatigue. The flu can lead to hospitalization, and even death, particularly in vulnerable populations like the elderly, children, and individuals with underlying health conditions.
  • COVID-19 — The COVID-19 pandemic has reshaped the world, and the virus continues to affect communities globally. The symptoms of COVID-19 vary widely, from mild respiratory symptoms to severe respiratory distress. Vaccination against COVID-19 is a crucial step in reducing transmission and preventing serious illness and hospitalization.
  • Respiratory Syncytial Virus — RSV is a common respiratory virus that can cause mild, cold-like symptoms in adults and older children. However, it can lead to severe respiratory infections in infants and young children, older adults, and people with chronic health conditions. RSV can cause bronchiolitis and pneumonia, requiring hospitalization in some cases.
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Get Vaccinated

Getting vaccinated against these infections is a proactive measure that benefits both individuals and the community at large. Here's why it's crucial:

  • Protection for You — Vaccines provide immunity against diseases, reducing your risk of falling ill and experiencing severe complications. That means you won’t miss the best that winter has to offer.
  • Protection for Others — By getting vaccinated, you contribute to herd immunity. This shields those who cannot be vaccinated due to medical conditions or age, preventing the spread of infections within the community.
  • Prevent Overwhelmed Health Care Systems — Vaccination helps reduce the burden on health care systems, ensuring that hospitals have enough staff and resources to effectively treat those with life-threatening illness.  

Vaccine Eligibility

Here’s how to check which vaccines your family should get this winter:

  • COVID-19 Vaccine  Anyone age six months and older should get vaccinated against the coronavirus. Individuals six years and older who have not yet been vaccinated only need one dose for full protection. Those who were vaccinated previously are encouraged to get a booster
  • RSV Vaccines and Immunizations Babies under eight months and at-risk infants between eight and 24 months should receive an RSV immunization during the RSV season (October—March). Newborns should receive an RSV immunization within one week of birth if born during the RSV season. Pregnant people in their last trimester, and adults 60 and older, should ask their doctor about an RSV vaccination.
  • Flu Vaccine — Anyone age six months and older should get an annual flu vaccine. 

Other Precautions

The viruses that cause COVID-19, RSV, and the flu are airborne. That means you’re more likely to become infected in a crowd or confined area where lots of people are breathing the same air. You can protect yourself by wearing a medical mask that fits over your nose and mouth. The mask should cover your chin and fit snugly over the bridge of your nose. You should still be able to breathe through it.

Wash Up

The viruses are transmitted when people sneeze or cough into their hands then shake someone else’s hand or touch someone’s face. If it gets into your eyes, nose, or mouth, you run the risk of getting ill. Wash your hands as soon as you get home from running errands or seeing friends. You can also carry hand sanitizer to disinfect more frequently.

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Get Rest and Eat Well

Your immune system is compromised when you’re not well-rested. It’s one of the reasons you want to sleep when you’re sick. Give yourself a break and get plenty of natural sleep to keep your body strong.

You should also eat well with plenty of lean proteins, colorful fruits, and vegetables. Limit your intake of processed meats and sugars. While there’s plenty of temptation this time of year, it’s important to have a gameplan when it comes to holiday eating.

We Have Your Back

Prioritize your health and the health of those around you this winter. Vaccination is a key strategy in the fight against infectious diseases. Getting vaccinated shows you're taking an active step toward a healthier and safer season.

All the vaccinations the CDC recommends are available at AltaMed, most at no cost to you.

It’s more important than ever to stay safe and healthy. Call us at (888) 499-9303 to schedule an appointment with your provider and stay on track to prevent these viruses from affecting you and your loved ones.

Get started with AltaMed

See how AltaMed Health Services can help your family grow healthy.

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Protect Yourself from Fall Infections

As the leaves change color and the air turns crisper, it’s only natural to get excited for fall. And while there’s plenty to look forward to, the change in seasons also brings a host of infectious diseases that can threaten our well-being. Protecting yourself and your loved ones from illnesses like the flu, COVID-19, and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is important. The good news is that vaccinations, along with simple safety measures, can protect your health and the health of those around you.

Understanding Fall Infections

 

  • Influenza (Flu) — The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by the influenza virus. Symptoms can range from mild to severe and include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, and fatigue. The flu can lead to hospitalization, and even death, particularly in vulnerable populations such as the elderly, children, and individuals with underlying health conditions.
  • COVID-19 — The COVID-19 pandemic has reshaped the world, and the virus continues to affect communities globally. The symptoms of COVID-19 vary widely, from mild respiratory symptoms to severe respiratory distress. Vaccination against COVID-19 is a crucial step in reducing transmission and preventing serious illness and hospitalization.
  • Respiratory Syncytial Virus — RSV is a common respiratory virus that can cause mild, cold-like symptoms in adults and older children. However, it can lead to severe respiratory infections in infants and young children, older adults, and people with chronic health conditions. RSV can cause bronchiolitis and pneumonia, requiring hospitalization in some cases.

Why Vaccination Matters

Getting vaccinated against these fall infections is a proactive measure that benefits both individuals and the community at large. Here's why it's crucial:

  • Protection for You — Vaccines provide immunity against diseases, reducing your risk of falling ill and experiencing severe complications. That means you won’t miss the best that fall has to offer.
  • Protection for Others — By getting vaccinated, you contribute to herd immunity. This shields those who cannot be vaccinated due to medical conditions or age, preventing the spread of infections within the community.
  • Prevent Overwhelmed Health Care Systems — Vaccination helps reduce the burden on health care systems, ensuring that hospitals can effectively treat those who require medical attention.

Why The Fall?

The timing of vaccination matters. Experts recommend getting vaccinated against the flu, COVID-19, and RSV in September or October. Here's why:

  • Flu vaccine — The flu typically starts circulating in the fall and peaks during the winter months. By getting vaccinated in September or October, your body has time to build immunity before the flu season hits its peak.
  • COVID-19 vaccine COVID-19 is still a concern, and vaccination remains a primary tool in controlling its spread. By getting vaccinated this fall, (even if you have been vaccinated in the past) will help minimize the risk of contracting or spreading the virus during gatherings or indoor activities.
  • RSV protection — RSV transmission tends to increase during the fall and winter. Vaccinating against RSV before these seasons begin can offer protection to vulnerable populations, particularly infants, young children, and seniors.

Other Safety Methods

Beyond vaccinations, taking simple precautions each day will help you and your family stay protected. Be sure to:

  • Wash your hands, thoroughly — Lather with soap and scrub for at least 20 seconds before rinsing to ensure a proper wash.
  • Carry hand sanitizer — Apply hand sanitizer regularly when running errands. Travel-size containers are available at drug and grocery stores.
  • Isolate when sick — If you or someone you live with shows signs of illness, avoid unnecessary exposure to others. That means rescheduling plans, keeping kids home from school, and delaying errands until symptoms disappear.
  • Wipe down surfaces Use a cleaning spray or alcohol wipe on high-touch items like water bottles, lunch boxes, and handbags.  

We Have Your Back

As fall approaches, prioritize your health and the health of those around you. Vaccination is a key strategy in the fight against infectious diseases. By getting vaccinated in September or October, you're taking an active step toward a healthier and safer season.

All the vaccinations the CDC recommends are available at AltaMed, most at no cost to you.

It’s more important than ever to stay safe and healthy. Call us at (888) 499-9303 to schedule an appointment with your provider and stay on track to prevent these viruses from affecting you and your loved ones.

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Your End of Year Health Checklist

There’s lots to plan for as the new year approaches. For many people, that includes health goals like working out more or cutting back on sugar. However, it’s important to make sure you’re remembering the little stuff. These are simple things you can do for yourself and your family to make sure you’re getting the most out of your health care provider. 

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Schedule Checkups

Everyone in the household needs an annual checkup or physical – Mom, Dad, Grandma, Auntie, and the kids. It’s essential to get those done so you can keep track of changes that occurred over the last year. They’re important for everyone but especially for children who are reaching developmental milestones. Missing those checkups could cause you to miss critical moments where intervention is necessary to prevent future issues. The checkups can also lead to recommended screenings which could turn out to be lifesaving

Visit the Gynecologist

Or make the appointment, at least. This visit goes beyond a routine physical. People with female reproductive organs should have annual visits to get pelvic and breast exams along with other screenings.

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Visit the Dentist

Oral hygiene cannot be overlooked. A beautiful smile and healthy teeth are great. But a number of serious health conditions — cancer, heart disease, or diabetes — can be traced back to poor oral care.

Get an Eye Exam

It is something you should do annually if you wear glasses or contacts. You can do it less frequently if you don’t have any vision issues. Your doctor will make recommendations about how often you should see an eye doctor. The younger you are, the less frequently you need go.

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Get Moving

Any activity is good activity. No one is asking you to run a marathon. You just need to move, and not much. Start by walking 15 minutes a day. Ideally you should get to a point where you’re walking 30 minutes a day, five days a week. You’re not doing it to lose weight. You’re doing it for the health of your heart and to lower your blood pressure, helping your body for years to come.

Ask About Skin Screenings

When you visit your doctor for a checkup, ask about any spots that you are concerned about. They can recommend seeing a dermatologist about any moles or freckles that are raised or have changed in shape or size since your last visit. Have your skin checked annually if you are at risk for skin cancer — if you work outdoors, or have a family history — or have other skin conditions.

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Meal Prep

Bad eating habits are often the result of poor planning. We get busy and, despite good intentions, our healthy eating habits fall to the wayside. Spending one day preparing meals for the week will help us ensure we eat healthier and not neglect nutrition when we don’t have the energy to cook for ourselves or our families.

Let Our Family Care for Yours

Good health should be simple: it should be easy for you to find doctors who can give you and your family the care you need when you don’t feel well, or when you’re healthy and want to stay that way. And it should be simple for you to find care that’s close to home and doctors who speak your language and understand what’s important to you. We have bilingual health care professionals in your neighborhood. In fact, many of our doctors live in the communities they serve. We’re dedicated to helping individuals and families get the right care they need to grow healthy.

Get started by calling (888) 499-9303.

Staying Healthy over the Holidays