Preparing for Virus Season

Preparing for Virus Season

Sub Heading

Learn how to prepare for respiratory virus season 

Main Image

Alt text

SEP. 03, 2021   3 MIN. READ

It is the season for viruses like Influenza and RSV, and COVID-19 cases continue to rise in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control the Delta variant causes more COVID-19 infections and spreads faster than earlier forms of the virus. Additionally, other respiratory viruses like Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) are also causing illness in children and adults. And flu season will be right around the corner. While influenza viruses circulate year-round, most of the flu activity comes in December through February according to the CDC.

But there are ways to support your immune system this season.

What You Can Do

Get Vaccinated. COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective and can help protect you from COVID-19.  In August, the FDA granted full approval for Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine for adults. And everyone 12 years of age and older is now eligible to get a free COVID-19 vaccination.

The CDC also says everyone 6 months and older should get a flu vaccine every season with rare exceptions. It is particularly important for people who are at higher risk of serious complications from influenza.

Wear a Mask. According to the CDC, people, including children older than 2, who are not fully vaccinated should wear a mask. Fully vaccinated people with weakened immune systems should also wear one. To maximize protection from the Delta variant and prevent possibly spreading it to others, fully vaccinated people should wear a mask indoors in public if you are in an area of substantial or high transmission.

Avoid Exposure: The best way to prevent contracting any virus is to avoid exposure. The CDC and other health organizations recommend actions like the following to help prevent the spread of respiratory illnesses.

Wash your hands often, especially after being in public spaces. Use soap and warm water to wash for at least 20 seconds.

  • Do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home if you are sick.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze and dispose of the tissue immediately.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

The Critical Role of Hydration and Illness

If you do find yourself with symptoms of a virus, you need to hydrate. When recovering from symptoms of respiratory illness, your body needs fluids and electrolytes to prevent dehydration. Symptoms like fever, coughing, diarrhea and vomiting can easily cause the loss of key electrolytes and dehydrate the body especially if fluids and healthy foods are not consumed while recuperating from illnesses.

Water is key to regulating your body’s core temperature, and dehydration can exacerbate an existing fever. With our bodies made up of 2/3 water, small losses in body fluid can worsen or prolong a fever.

  • Proper hydration levels can help your nose and lungs more effectively do their job, trapping and getting rid of small particles like viruses and bacteria when coughing and sneezing.
  • Moisture also helps protect broken membranes in nasal passages so additional infectious organisms don't get into the body.
  • Diarrhea and vomiting can cause significant and immediate loss of fluids and electrolytes like sodium, chloride, and potassium. Oral electrolyte solutions like Pedialyte® have been recommended by the World Health Organization and the American Academy of Pediatrics for decades for relieving mild to moderate dehydration related to acute gastroenteritis.

The immune system is the body’s defense against infections. When it’s working well, the immune system can help protect against illnesses and infections. There are several key factors that help keep your immune system healthy. Some of these factors include adequate rest, regular exercise, good hygiene, decreased stress, and a healthy diet.

Here are some tips on how to support immune health with good nutrition.

  • Choose prebiotic and probiotic-containing foods that support a healthy gut flora – such as fruits, vegetables, kefir, yogurt, and kimchi – just to name a few.
  • Fill each plate with produce, lean meats, dairy and healthy fats to get what you need to support your immune system.
  • Key vitamins and minerals for supporting your immunity include vitamins A, C and E, as well as zinc. Find them in fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds and seafood, milk and beans.

If you believe you or your child have been exposed to a virus or are experiencing symptoms, consult your healthcare provider for advice.

*Each Pedialyte product has at least 1030 mg sodium per liter; leading sports drink has ~460 mg sodium per liter.

Ask the Expert: Which Foods Support Immunity?

Main Image

Alt text


In this series, our experts answer nutrition questions to help you nourish your best life at every age. To submit a question for consideration*, email us.

Reference Page Path


Good nutrition helps support immune health

Key nutrients needed for immune health. 



Advanced hydration with zinc and vitamin C for immune support


Subscribe Policy

I understand and agree that the information I’ve provided will be used according to the terms of Abbott’s Privacy PolicyTerms and conditions apply.

Unless otherwise specified, all product and services names appearing in this Internet site are trademarks owned by or licensed to Abbott, its subsidiaries or affiliates. No use of any Abbott trademark, tradename, or trade dress in the site may be made without the prior written authorization of Abbott, except to identify the product or services of the company.

Please click "Accept Sale/Sharing and Targeted Advertising" to enable full site functionality.

At this time, we are experiencing problems with broken links on our site. As an interim solution, for full site functionality you must enable functional and advertising cookies. If you continue to opt-out of these cookies, some content on our site may not be viewable.

We use functional cookies to analyze your use of the site, improve performance and provide a better customer experience. We use advertising cookies to allow us, through certain data assigned and obtained from the user's device, to store or share with third parties information related to user's browsing activity in our website, in order to create an advertising profile and place relevant advertising in our website or those third parties websites. For more information about how Abbott uses cookies please see our Cookie Policy and Privacy Policy.

In order to accept functional and advertising cookies, please click "Enable Cookies" and then click "Accept Sale/Sharing and Targeted Advertising" to view the full site.

Learn more about cookies