The world has come a long way as far as protecting people from COVID-19 and its complications since the dawn of the pandemic. While fewer people are getting sick or dying of the disease these days, the virus is still very much around.
Waves of increased COVID infections are likely to continue periodically for some time, according to experts, with symptoms that range from mild and temporary to severe and long-lasting. Thankfully, there’s a lot you can do for prevention.
At his office in Midtown East, Manhattan, in New York City, Jeffery Tun, MD provides COVID-19 testing and treatment to help keep you and your family as healthy as possible.
If you’d like to prevent needing COVID treatment to begin with this fall, consider the following prevention steps.
Stay up-to-date with vaccines
COVID-19 vaccines, including the initial doses and boosters, lower your risk of acquiring the virus in the first place. Most importantly, they help lower your odds of developing severe and life-threatening symptoms. All of these benefits make it less likely that you’ll pass the virus on to someone else, including people at high risk of complications.
As of 2023, infants, kids, and adults ages 6 months and older are eligible for the vaccines, which are updated based on the viruses’ latest mutations.
Because the vaccines’ effectiveness wanes over time, booster shots are recommended sometime after your initial vaccine, whether that first vaccine involved one or two doses. Your booster timing will depend on your age, your severe infection risk factors, and when you had your last vaccine.
Consider wearing a mask
Quality face coverings, such as KN95 masks, prevent COVID-19 from spreading by keeping droplets of the airborne virus from spreading from one infected person to another. If you’re around someone who has a COVID infection, it’s easy to breathe virus droplets in when they talk, cough, sneeze, or breathe — even when the infected person is asymptomatic.
Practices that can help make the most of your mask-wearing include:
- Making sure your mask fits comfortably over your mouth and nose
- Wearing a mask when you’re around someone who may be sick
- Wearing a mask in indoor public spaces, especially amidst crowds
Masks are considered safe and helpful for anyone over age two, unless the person is having breathing difficulties or has lost consciousness.
Practice good hygiene
Although COVID-19 is an airborne virus that passes through droplets, you can still catch or transmit it through activities like sharing drinks and touching others’ unwashed hands.
The same hygiene habits that help prevent cold and flu transmission can help lower your risk for the coronavirus, including:
- Cleaning and disinfecting surfaces frequently, especially surfaces that are readily touched, like phone screens, faucets, and door handles
- Regularly washing your hands using soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer
- Covering your mouth and nose with a tissue or your elbow when you cough or sneeze, and encouraging the same from children
In particular, wash your hands well before touching your eyes, nose, or mouth, after handling your mask, and after leaving public spaces.
Lead an overall healthy lifestyle
Healthy lifestyle habits aren’t known to prevent COVID-19 when you’re exposed, but they can help ensure that your immune system is strong and able to fight off the infection. A healthy lifestyle may also protect you from severe COVID symptoms and the need for hospitalization.
Smart lifestyle habits to embrace include:
- Eating antioxidant-rich foods, such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains
- Getting sufficient sleep (7-8 nightly hours for most adults)
- Exercising for up to an hour on most days
- Managing stress
Staying on top of your medical needs is another important part of a COVID-fighting lifestyle, so be sure to schedule your annual physicals. Meanwhile, stay in touch with our team about any chronic conditions you have, such as high blood pressure or diabetes, that can exacerbate COVID infections.
We can also talk to you about additional helpful prevention steps, such as COVID testing before gatherings, seeking venues with good ventilation, holding events outdoors when possible, and social distancing.
Lastly, we can help sort through mixed messages you may have heard about the virus to ensure that you make informed, medically based decisions based on the latest recommendations.
To learn more about COVID-19 prevention or to get started with the care you need, call one of our offices or request an appointment through our website today.