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4 ways to conquer cold and flu season

4 ways to stay healthy in uncertain timesExpert advice from Dr. Cindy Zelis.

Heading into cold and flu season, we all want to stay healthy. But what’s the best way to do that in these uncertain times? Dr. Cindy Zelis, MDLIVE Chief Medical Officer, answers your most frequently asked questions about getting your physical and mental health back on track.

MDLIVE doctor

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Many people have delayed seeking routine and preventive care because of the pandemic. How can we get back on track?

Don’t feel overwhelmed if you are behind. Make a list of the screening tests, appointments, or medications you need, and divide it into manageable tasks. When you need to seek in-person health care, taking those precautions you learned during the worst of the pandemic, like wearing a mask, washing your hands, and getting vaccinated, will continue to keep you safer as you head into the fall months. Reduce your risk of germs by scheduling appointments during low-volume office times and using virtual care for non-emergency urgent care, routine visits, and mental health therapy. Virtual care visits alleviate much of the stress, hassle, and time needed for these situations while protecting you from viruses and germs. MDLIVE provides virtual care for more than 80 common conditions.

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As we get closer to cold and flu season in the fall, many health experts predict that it could be worse this year. How do we prepare?

The first thing to know is that we have to hope for the best and prepare for the worst. The flu season may be more severe than in previous years. The public response to the COVID-19 pandemic last year actually resulted in a less severe influenza season. This may impact this year’s 2021-2022 flu season. Most importantly, safe practices, such as frequent handwashing, social distancing, and face masks, likely helped keep the spread of other germs down as well.

So, remember, not only do we encourage the COVID-19 vaccination, but we also recommend that you get your annual flu vaccination. These preventive measures will help to give you control of your health. Additionally, healthy habits such as handwashing, social distancing, wearing face masks, keeping hydrated, eating healthy, getting enough sleep, and exercising are essential habits for staying healthy.

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Kids are going back to school, and some parents are heading back into the office. How do we adjust to the stress and anxiety?

The pandemic itself caused a heightened awareness of mental health and its effects on our emotional well-being. With some things open again and an uncertain fall/winter season ahead, there’s an added layer of stress and anxiety impacting most of us. If you are prepared, transitioning back into school or work may be an easier adjustment. You must care for your mind as well as your body, so follow vaccination guidelines and practice good hygiene habits while also tending to your mental health. Your emotional well-being is a critical element to making a healthy transition.

If you’re experiencing mixed reactions or feeling overwhelmed, know that millions of others are experiencing these same feelings. Check in with your spouse, children, or loved ones regularly and talk openly about stressors. Talking to a therapist can help you and those you love manage life changes, stress, anxiety, or depression. The use of virtual behavioral health services with MDLIVE allows you to work through these concerns from the privacy and safety of your home.

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We’re facing an uncertain fall and winter season as COVID-19 strains continue to impact many areas. What’s the best way to stay healthy when visiting people and traveling?

While more places are open now, COVID-19 and variant strains are likely to remain as well as continue to evolve. Because of this, a new mindset has developed where personal and family health has become one of the most crucial factors in the travel planning process. That’s encouraging, but we still need to maintain smart pandemic habits. As we head into the more germ-laden fall and winter months, the travel lessons we learned over the summer still apply. Enjoying the outdoors, packing “COVID-19 kits” (hand sanitizer, masks, thermometer, etc.), identifying a local pharmacy, and keeping the MDLIVE virtual care mobile app close by can help you stay healthy and feel better faster, both physically and mentally when you’re on the go.

Confusing and similar symptoms between cold, flu, allergies, and COVID-19 make it difficult to determine your condition.
If you are worried or concerned, have an MDLIVE virtual doctor visit.

Jorge Garcia