While COVID-19 variants, mandates and directives have changed, one thing remains clear — the virus will be around for some time to come. You can retain a measure of control by staying prepared in case of infection.
Vaccination, testing and masking are important lines of defense against COVID-19 but make sure you’re aware of your risk of serious illness. People over age 65 are far more likely to be hospitalized or die from COVID. Certain medical conditions, like diabetes and heart issues, can increase your risk for severe illness. Take a look at the CDC’s list of high-risk medical conditions. If your risk is elevated, contact your doctor to discuss prevention and monitoring for COVID-19.
Follow these steps and guidelines to help your family be COVID-19 ready:
- Get vaccinated and stay up to date on boosters. Vaccines are the first line of defense against serious illness.
- Keep rapid COVID-19 tests on hand. They’re available for free through health systems, community organizations and the federal government. Most retail pharmacies carry rapid tests and many insurance companies reimburse the cost. Test to Treat sites are also available.
- Create an at-home care kit. Your COVID kit should include a thermometer, acetaminophen for fever, cough suppressants and saline nose spray. A pulse oximeter, used to measure blood oxygen levels, is a good addition if you have asthma or other respiratory problems. Keep disinfectant, gloves and masks in reserve for your household.
- Make sure you have masks. If community spread increases, you’ll need them. N95s and KN95s are best for personal use. At Sutter locations, you’ll be given a procedure mask if you need one.
- Put a plan in place in case of infection. Figure out childcare or how to cover work duties ahead of time.
- Know how to reach your doctor. Some high-risk patients who test positive for COVID-19 may be eligible for antiviral medicine. Sutter patients can message providers through My Health Online.
- Stay informed. Rely on trusted sources like your local health department, the CDC and Sutter’s COVID-19 Resources.
Sutter Health’s Medical Director of Pharmacy & Infection Control Dr. Jeffrey Silvers advises, “There is no ‘get out of jail free’ card for COVID. Plan ahead, stay safe and don’t depend on a lucky roll of the dice.”