We’re all familiar with the yearly fall and winter showdown against COVID-19, the flu, and strep throat. In this post, we’ll dive deep into how you can protect your immune system, share our best tips for staying healthy, and share the latest updates for fall and winter 2023 flu, COVID-19, and strep throat.
The providers at each Integrity Urgent Care location are passionate about helping our communities stay safe and healthy this season. We’re here to help you emerge victorious against these illnesses this year!
Getting to Know the Illnesses: COVID-19, Flu, and Strep
Let’s start by reintroducing you to the three illnesses our providers expect to see often this fall and winter.
All Integrity Urgent Care locations have on-site testing for strep, COVID-19, flu, and other illnesses. If you are experiencing any symptoms described below, check-in online and see us today. We’ll be able to provide same-day results and help you on your way back to health.
You may have heard more about COVID-19 in worldwide headlines recently. This virus remains highly contagious and can cause many symptoms, from mild sniffles to more severe respiratory issues.
Two variants nicknamed “Eris” and “Fornax” make up the largest share of infections in the United States right now, and there is a new variation nicknamed “Pirola,” which you might hear about in the news. You may hear these names over the next few months, but they are all variants of COVID-19.
COVID-19 (or Coronavirus) is caused by a virus called SARS-CoV-2. Symptoms include fever, cough, and loss of taste or smell. Other notable symptoms include a runny nose, headaches, fatigue, and a sore throat.
Scientists, doctors, and other specialists foresee an increase in COVID-19 infections over the fall, winter, and into 2024. If your immunizations or boosters for COVID-19 are not up-to-date, If you are experiencing symptoms, the best action is to rest, hydrate, limit exposure to others, and see a provider. Integrity can see you virtually from the comfort of your home or in person at one of our locations across Texas.
Influenza, or “the flu,” is the seasonal party-crasher you’ve probably known since childhood. It often creeps in during the colder months, bringing chills, fever, and that all-around ‘blah’ feeling.
Flu symptoms you may experience include:
- Sore throat
- Body aches
If you experience these symptoms, you should stay home, rest, and increase your fluid intake. Virtual urgent care is perfect for getting the help you need with the flu. Simply choose a time that works for you, and you can video chat with a provider from your home. Our provider can then provide a care plan and, if needed, an antiviral medication for the flu.
Researchers create the annual flu vaccine each year using the best data available to determine which flu strains will be most common. Receiving the flu vaccine annually is the best chance to avoid the illness throughout this fall and winter. Most Integrity locations will have the flu vaccine available. Simply call the location you prefer to ask about vaccine availability.
Strep throat, caused by the sneaky group A Streptococcus bacteria, can turn your throat into a battleground of discomfort, complete with a sore throat, fever, and swollen tonsils. Strep affects people of all ages but most commonly is seen in children ages five through 15.
If you have school-aged children in your home, you could experience strep throat in your home this fall or winter. You must see a provider for a rapid strep test and antibiotics to treat the infection.
Our providers can swab your throat and let you know quickly if you test positive for strep throat. After that, the provider will likely prescribe an antibiotic and recommend a care plan, and you will be ready for healthier days ahead.
Remember that age-old wisdom – an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure? It holds true even in a world with COVID-19 and other infectious illnesses. Here are our recommendations for preventing illness this season.
- Hand Hygiene: Make thorough handwashing a habit. Use soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Additionally, rely on hand sanitizer like it’s your trusty sidekick.
- Mask Magic: If you are ill, have been around someone sick, or are in a place with high rates of illness or high density, don’t hesitate to wear a mask. Although you may have avoided a mask recently, they help protect and prevent the spread of airborne illnesses.
- Vaccinate Wisely: Vaccines are like secret weapons your immune system can use against invaders. Stay up-to-date with flu shots and, of course, the COVID-19 vaccine.
A robust immune system is like having a personal fortress against these invaders. Here’s how to pump up your immunity:
- Eat the Rainbow: Incorporate a variety of colorful fruits and veggies into your diet. They’re chock-full of vitamins and antioxidants that your immune system craves.
- Exercise Regularly: Whether dancing in your living room, visiting the gym, or jogging in the park, regular exercise helps keep your immune system in top-notch condition.
- Sleep Like a Boss: Aim for 7-9 hours of quality sleep per night. During sleep, your body repairs and rejuvenates, preparing you for the next day’s battles.
Knowledge Is Power
Stay informed, but stay calm. Know the facts and separate them from the fiction:
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC’s website is a goldmine of information on all things health-related, from COVID-19 guidelines to flu prevention tips and more. Check them out at www.cdc.gov.
- World Health Organization (WHO). For a global perspective on health issues, WHO is your go-to source. Their website, www.who.int, provides updates on the latest developments in health worldwide.
- National Institutes of Health (NIH). The NIH offers valuable insights into various health conditions. You can find reliable information at www.nih.gov.
- Texas Department of State Health Services. Keep up to date with the State of Texas infectious disease information from our state.
When to Call in Reinforcements
Sometimes, illnesses can no longer be managed alone, and that’s when you need to call for backup. Seeing a provider you trust can make a huge difference. To see an Integrity Urgent Care provider today, check-in online and head to the clinic. Early intervention can make all the difference; we’re ready to help.
Stay Safe, Seek Help When You Need It
We wish you good health and good luck in protecting yourself and our community this fall and winter by staying informed, practicing good hygiene, boosting your immunity, and taking necessary precautions.
Health is a journey, and we’re here to be a part of the team keeping you healthy this year. Integrity Urgent Care is located across Texas to serve your health and wellness needs. Online check-in is just a click away. We’ll see you soon!