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Staying Healthy over the Holidays

The holidays have been hard the last two years. We have needed to isolate, for the most part, from friends and family.

Now that we’re in the end stages of COVID-19, it’s a little safer to get together, but we still need to take safety measures. These are precautions we should have always been taking, not because of COVID, but because of the flu, which seems to be particularly dangerous this year.

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 yourself and your family healthy while you make the holidays happen.

Get Vaccinated

This is the best thing you can do to protect yourself against getting COVID-19 and the flu. While no vaccine is 100% effective, they will lessen the severity of any case you may contract.

Children six months to 5 years old can receive the full COVID series of two doses according the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Bivalent vaccines and boosters are available to people aged five years or older. These bivalent vaccines protect against the original virus and the new variants that have developed. Anyone six months and older can get flu shot.

Talk to your AltaMed health care professional for more information on the COVID-19 vaccine, when you should get boosted, and which one is right for you. They can also give you a free flu vaccine.

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Mask Up When Necessary

The viruses that cause the flu and COVID 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. It 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.

Let Our Family Care for Yours

Good health should be simple: it should be simple to find doctors who can give you and your family the care you need when you don’t feel well…or better yet, when you’re healthy and want to stay that way. It should be simple for you to find care that’s close to home, from doctors who speak your language and understand what’s important to you.

AltaMed puts everything you need in one place—doctors, tests, treatments, and medicines. 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.

Call (888) 499-9303 to get started today.

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COVID-19 Symptoms Changing Along with the Virus

When COVID-19 first struck, people were on alert for symptoms like fatigue, muscle and body aches, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, loss of smell, fever, and shortness of breath.

In the same way the virus that causes COVID-19 has developed variants, the symptoms that appear with the disease vary as well. They have also changed as more people have gotten vaccinated. The level of vaccination plays a hand in how the illness presents itself according to a recent research study.

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Common Symptoms

Participants in the research study seemed to share some symptoms regardless of their vaccination status. The severity, duration, and complications varied however depending on whether they were unimmunized, partially vaccinated, or fully vaccinated.

According to the study, the most common symptoms among all groups were a sore throat, runny nose, persistent cough, and headache. Fully vaccinated participants reported fewer symptoms lasting less time.

Fully Vaxed

The top five symptoms ranked from most to least reported among fully vaccinated participants were:

  1. Sore throat
  2. Runny nose
  3. Stuffy nose
  4. Persistent cough
  5. Headache

One Dose

The top five symptoms ranked from most to least reported among participants who received only one dose were:

  1. Headache
  2. Runny nose
  3. Sore throat
  4. Sneezing
  5. Persistent cough

Unvaccinated

The top five symptoms from most to least among the unvaccinated were:

  1. Headache
  2. Sore throat
  3. Runny nose
  4. Fever
  5. Persistent cough

“Traditional” symptoms like fatigue, aches, nausea, and vomiting and diarrhea were mentioned less frequently among the study subjects. Loss of smell dropped to sixth, fever ranked eighth, and shortness of breath fell to 29th.

As the main symptoms of COVID-19 continue to evolve, symptoms that mimic cold- and flu-like symptoms could be mistaken for other viruses as winter approaches. “We are raising concerns,” said Ilan Shapiro, AltaMed’s Chief Health Correspondent and Medical Affairs Officer. He emphasized the importance of testing and active preventive measures, like immunizations, because different viruses have different treatments.

Get Vaccinated and Tested

AltaMed is making COVID-19 vaccines available in your neighborhood. No appointment is necessary. Anyone 5 years or older, whether they are a patient or not, can get a vaccine, while supplies last. It is FREE regardless of immigration or health insurance status. All locations offer the Pfizer vaccine. Walk-ins are welcome but appointments are encouraged. You may pre-register and book an appointment by calling (888) 499-9303 or visiting my turn.ca.gov and searching for an AltaMed vaccine event using the event address.

Requirements:

  • Bring a document that includes your first and last name.
  • Masks will be provided to anyone who doesn’t have one.
  • Minors must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.

Learn more about the COVID-19 vaccine and testing here.

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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. Women should have annual well-woman 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