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.
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.
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.
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.
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