Get protected against flu, COVID before holidays hit, say national health care orgs

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — A dozen health care organizations have a common message, urging everyone to take steps to protect themselves from respiratory diseases heading into the winter holiday season.

The joint message comes from groups including the American Academy of Family Physicians and the American Medical Association, reminding of the importance of vaccination and early treatment for COVID-19 and flu.

Dr. Darilyn Moyer, CEO of the American College of Physicians, says now is the time of year when respiratory illnesses typically spike.

“We need to really be vigilant and ensure that we have our vaccinations for influenza and COVID up to date,” Moyer said. “And we are seeking early advice for any type of illness from our primary practitioners.”

While COVID-19 may not be getting the attention it once commanded, there are still a lot of cases, Moyer said.

“We're still dealing with the equivalent of one jumbo jet crashing every day, with 300 to 400 deaths. This is only going to get worse as we enter the cooler temperatures, people are indoors more.”

Moyer also said it’s very important that people who have symptoms of COVID or flu should not try to tough it out, but should rather contact their health care provider immediately — “because we can give effective antivirals for both influenza and COVID if … they are caught within a certain window.”

And in preparation for holiday gatherings, she recommends everyone respect other people’s decisions. If someone wants to wear a mask or isn’t comfortable sitting at a crowded table, she says, just remember: Different people approach their health in different ways.

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