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Mission: To enable our partners, faith based organizations, and communities to address the holistic health of families in South Carolina. 
As if the coronavirus epidemic isn’t bad enough, Flu season is coming this Fall.  What will happen when both pandemics meet? What will we need to do to protect ourselves and our families from getting sick from either of these two serious diseases? 
THE FACTS
THE PROBLEM
  • Both diseases affect similar populations:
    • Adults over age 65
    • People who are overweight and are diabetic
    • People who suffer from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
    • People who have asthma and /or suffer with other respiratory conditions
    • Older adults who are in nursing care facilities
    • Pregnant women and young children (especially under age 2)
    • People suffering from other chronic conditions such as heart, liver and kidney disease
    • People whose immune system has been compromised (HIV/AIDS. chemotherapy, certain cancers and radiation therapy)
Both diseases are airborne and can also be contracted through close contact and from shared surfaces.  While symptoms and disease progression might be different, the end result is that most Americans are susceptible to both diseases and if both epidemics overlap and peak at the same time, the demand for hospital emergency and intensive care facilities will be overwhelming.  

In addition, there is no vaccine for COVID-19, but there is a safe and moderately effective Flu vaccine available.  While the effectiveness of the Flu vaccine has been questioned (for the 2019-2020 Flu season, the vaccine was 55% effective in adults and 45% in children), it still provides some protection against the Flu and reduces the severity of the infection in most people.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
While we cannot accurately determine what will happen when the current COVID-19 crisis meets the upcoming Flu season, we can prepare and protect ourselves, children and  families from the worst and hope for the best.

GET A FLU VACCINE:  CDC recommends a yearly Flu vaccine as the first and most important step in protecting against Flu viruses. Getting a Flu vaccine during 2020-2021 will be more important than ever.  Flu vaccines will not prevent COVID-19, but they will reduce the burden of Flu illnesses, hospitalizations and deaths on the health care system and conserve scarce medical resources for the care of people with COVID-19.  It is recommended everyone 6 months of age and older should get an annual Flu vaccine by the end of October.

STOP THE SPREAD OF GERMS:  Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.  It’s especially important to wash:  before eating or preparing food; before touching your face; after using the restroom; after leaving a public place; after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing; after handling your cloth face covering; after changing a diaper; after caring for someone sick; and after touching animals or pets.  If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

MONITOR YOUR HEALTH DAILY:  Be alert for symptoms. Watch for fever, cough, shortness of breath, or other symptoms of COVID-19 and the Flu.  Especially important if you are running essential errands, going into the office or workplace, and in settings where it may be difficult to keep a physical distance of 6 feet.  Take your temperature if symptoms develop.  Don’t take your temperature within 30 minutes of exercising or after taking medications that could lower your temperature, like acetaminophen.

WEAR FACE MASKS:  Everyone should wear a cloth face cover  when they have to go out in public, for example to the grocery store or to pick up other items.  Cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.

SOCIAL DISTANCE (PHYSICAL DISTANCING):  Keep  a safe space between you, your children and other family members who are not from your household.  Stay at least 6 feet (about 2 arms’ length) away both indoor and outdoor spaces.  

CLEAN AND DISINFECT:  Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.  If surfaces are dirty, clean them. Use detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection. Then, use a household disinfectant. 
RESOURCES
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS)
SC Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC)
Hold Out the Lifeline: A Mission to Families


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