Promoting Utah Public Health During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Part 2
This article about Utah Public Health is sponsored by Healthy In Utah.
In Utah, we take care of each other. During this pandemic, it’s even more important to protect public health by protecting ourselves and our loved ones.
Here are some tips on how to stay healthy during COVID-19.
Keep Wearing a Mask
Wearing a mask protects you and the people around you. CDC director Dr. Robert R. Redfield calls face masks “the most important, powerful public health tool we have,” and says that if all Americans wear masks, we can bring the pandemic under control in 6-12 weeks.
Wearing a mask is safe. It does not reduce your oxygen intake.
Avoid Large Gatherings
Stay away from large groups of people, even if they’re people you know well. Some people have COVID-19 without knowing it and can pass their germs to you even if they don’t look sick.
If you have to meet with large groups of people, have everyone wear masks and stand at least six feet apart, especially if you’re indoors.
Get Your Flu Shot
One of the best ways to promote public health this year is to get your flu shot. Don’t battle both COVID-19 AND the seasonal flu. Especially since it’s preventable. Flu shots are available at local pharmacies and your doctor’s office. You can find more information about the flu shot and where you can get it at the Healthy in Utah website.
Stay Home If You Have Any Symptoms
Are you feeling sick? Don’t assume it’s just the flu.
COVID-19 symptoms include fever, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, muscle aches, and chills, or decreased sense of smell or taste. If you have any of these symptoms, stay home even if you don’t feel very sick. You don’t want to pass your germs to somebody else.
If you find out you have COVID-19, you need to quarantine. Stay home and stay away from people for at least two weeks.
If you have even one symptom of COVID-19, you should get tested right away. That means if you have a fever, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, muscle aches and chills, or a decreased sense of smell or taste, you should schedule a test. You should also get tested if you have been exposed to someone who has COVID-19.
Utah now has 76 public testing sites, with eight in Salt Lake City alone. Some locations even have drive-thru service. Contact your chosen testing center to see if you need an appointment or if they accept walk-ins.
Most people will not have to pay for COVID-19 testing. If you’re not covered by insurance or Medicaid, you can get tested for free at some testing locations. For more information, call the Utah Coronavirus Hotline at 1-800-456-7707 or use the chat feature on the coronavirus.utah.gov website.
Know Your Risks
Some people are at an increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19. Older adults have a higher risk than young adults. An 85-year-old adult is 630 times more likely to die after contracting COVID-19 than a 20-year-old adult.
People are also at higher risk if they have underlying medical conditions, such as heart disease, asthma, hypertension, kidney disease, or diabetes. A person with three of these conditions is five times more likely to be hospitalized with COVID-19. So it’s especially important to wear a mask around high-risk individuals.
Even young people can suffer from COVID-19. While young people are less likely to die from COVID-19, they can have long-term effects including heart damage, scar tissue in the lungs, strokes, and seizures.
Practice Good Public Health
We can help others in our community by wearing masks, staying home, and quarantining when we’re sick. If we all follow these public health guidelines, we can bring the numbers down and beat COVID together.
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