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Curbing Illness this Winter

The winter months are the peak season for respiratory illnesses to spread among family members and friend groups. Group gatherings and colder, rainy weather that force us indoors make it easy for germs to spread from one person to the next, and the new Omicron variant is proving to be more contagious than previous COVID-19 variants.

To help keep you and your loved ones healthy this winter, keep these important health practices top of mind:

  • Get vaccinated & boosted:  Vaccines remain our best defense against reducing severe illness, hospitalizations, and death due to infection. While breakthrough infections are likely to occur for those who are fully vaccinated, the CDC advises that current COVID vaccines are expected to reduce severe symptoms with the Omicron variant, similar to what they did with other variants, like Delta. The influenza and pneumonia vaccines are also effective in reducing hospitalization and death from otherwise vaccine preventable illnesses.
  • Wear a mask: Masks offer protection against all COVID variants, the flu and other contagious illnesses. Wear a mask in public indoor settings regardless of vaccination status.
  • Wash your hands: Studies find that people touch their face, on average, 16 times an hour. That’s a lot of opportunities to spread germs from your hand to your mouth, nose and eyes!
  • Boost your immunity: Maintain good habits including eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and getting a good night’s sleep. These things help support your natural immunity to infection.

Symptoms associated with the Omicron variant can differ for some people. Watch out for the following symptoms:

  • Cough
  • Fatigue
  • Congestion & running nose
  • Fever
  • Sore Throat
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache

If you’ve been exposed to someone who has COVID or if you test positive, visit the CDC’s updated quarantine guidelines.

To get tested for COVID-19, visit the DPH Testing locator or our COVID Testing Blog.

Ready to schedule an appointment with a doctor? Find the doctor that’s perfect for you here.

Published December 29, 2021