Preventing the Spread of COVID-19 and the Flu

First published by NSC.

With the risks of the flu and COVID-19, as well as potential confusion around symptoms, prevention is key to protecting yourself, your co-workers and your loved ones. To limit risk, you must understand the riskiest situations this flu season. According to the CDC, limiting face-to-face contact with others is the best way to reduce the spread of COVID-19. You can also limit your risks by:

Talk to your supervisor about preventive steps you can take to limit the spread at work. Remember, a lack of symptoms does not mean you or those around you don’t have COVID-19. This virus can spread easily but the above measures can help. The CDC explains that for both COVID-19 and the flu, it’s possible to spread the virus for at least one day before you experience any symptoms. With COVID-19, the CDC says, you can remain contagious for at least 10 days after experiencing symptoms.

This is especially important if you spend time around people in high-risk groups, including older adults and those with underlying health conditions. According to the CDC, people in these groups can be at higher risk for developing a severe illness from COVID-19, and taking the above precautions are even more important to keep them safe.

The Vital Importance of Getting Your Flu Shot

It’s important to get a flu shot each year to reduce your risk of becoming sick and spreading the flu to others. This year, however, a flu shot is more important than ever and the best way to reduce the spread of the seasonal flu. While you might think catching the flu is no big deal – especially in comparison to COVID-19 – it’s not just yourself that you should be worried about. If you catch the flu, you could spread it to others who may be at higher risk for complications. Then there is the issue of overburdening the hospital system. If you become sick or unknowingly infect someone, it might require health care and medical resources that already are strained by the pandemic.

All of us can take simple precautions to limit the spread of these viruses and keep those around us safe. Check out this video for more tips on protecting your co-workers and community this flu season. This Vaccine Finder tool can locate local options for you and your loved ones to get a flu shot.

Additional Resources:

Use the above resources and these posters to keep yourself and those around you safe:


McCraren Compliance assists employers in protecting their workers, starting with a comprehensive Work-site Analysis, Hazard Prevention, Controls, and Safety & Health Training.

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Preparing for Flu Season and COVID-19

First published by NSC.

Flu season is here, along with the additional risks posed by COVID-19. These viruses each pose serious dangers, making it crucial to prepare for both and take preventive steps to keep yourself and those around you safe.

Preliminary estimates from the CDC report that about 34,000 Americans died from the flu last year, with a typical flu season ranging from around October to as late as May. COVID-19, meanwhile, has killed over 229,000 Americans since early 2020. As the normal flu season ramps up, the potential for spread, infection and confusion around these viruses will increase. While you might consider a flu shot and cough syrup an adequate response to the flu in a regular year, those steps are not enough this year. Each of us must take action to avoid infection, limit the spread of these viruses and keep each other safe.

Key Differences in Signs and Symptoms

To prevent the spread of viruses this flu season, you must be able to spot the signs and symptoms of a typical cold, the annual flu and COVID-19. According to the CDC, there are some similarities and differences between a cold and the flu, and between the flu and COVID-19.

With a cold:

  • Symptoms may be gradual
  • Most common symptoms include sneezing, a stuffy nose and a sore throat
  • It is rare to experience a fever or headache

With the flu:

  • Symptoms show up abruptly
  • Common symptoms include a fever, aches, fatigue, chest discomfort and a headache
  • It is less common to experience sneezing, a stuffy nose or a sore throat

With COVID-19:

  • Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus
  • Common shared symptoms with the flu include a fever, aches, fatigue and a headache
  • Common symptoms different from the flu can include change in or loss of taste or smell

Some of these overlapping symptoms can be confusing, but it’s important to keep in mind that each person’s experience with a cold, the flu or COVID-19 may be different. Symptoms may be more severe or, in some COVID-19 cases, there may be no symptoms at all. That is why, whether working remotely or in a traditional workplace, spotting these signs in yourself or others – or learning you were in contact with someone with COVID-19 – should spur you to action.

If you have COVID-19 symptoms, the CDC recommends quarantining at home and contacting your health care provider for additional guidance. The same goes if you are exposed to someone with COVID-19. Talk to your supervisor about working from home or taking time off to keep yourself and your co-workers safe. It can be difficult to decide whether you need to get tested for COVID-19, but the CDC has a tool to help. The Coronavirus Self-Checker allows you to enter your symptoms and other information to help determine whether you should get tested or access additional medical care.

If you get the flu, the CDC recommends:

  • Staying home and resting
  • Avoiding contact with people who are not sick, including those in your home
  • Drinking plenty of water to prevent dehydration

If you are caring for someone with the flu but you don’t have it, the CDC recommends:

  • Avoiding close contact with the sick individual as much as possible
  • Washing your hands frequently with soap and water
  • Using an alcohol-based hand rub if soap and water aren’t easily available

See more CDC recommendations, including a list of flu symptoms that may require immediate medical care and take a look at this article from the winter issue of Family Safety & Health® magazine for additional information on the differences between symptoms.


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