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Preparing for Another COVID-19 Winter

Health Tips to Keep Your Family Safe

As winter approaches again, COVID-19 remains a threat across the United States — the same time we tend to see a spike in flu cases. While most of us have taken precautions over the last year and a half, it’s important to brush up on these health tips to prevent your family from becoming sick:

Knowing Your Symptoms

Congestion, fever, aches, and pains — when the typical symptoms start, it can be hard to tell if you just have a cold or the flu. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, there are additional worries about contracting this highly contagious virus and spreading it to your friends and family.

If you become sick this season, here are some tips to help identify your symptoms and help guide you towards seeking the right care.

The Common Cold

Unlike influenza or COVID-19, the common cold can be caused by hundreds, or even thousands, of different viruses. Luckily, common colds tend to be non-emergent, leaving you to get rest and recover at home.

Typical symptoms of a cold include:

  • Sneezing and coughing.
  • Stuffy and runny nose
  • Sore throat.
  • Coughing.

Fevers are not typically common in patients with a cold.

The Seasonal Flu

Influenza (the seasonal flu) is a respiratory illness caused by the influenza virus. Symptoms of the flu can range from mild to severe, but some of the most common signs of the seasonal flu include:

  • Sore throat.
  • Chills.
  • Stuffy or runny nose.
  • Fever.
  • Cough.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Fatigue.
  • Headaches.
  • Muscle or body aches.
  • Vomiting.

Typically, flu symptoms subside after four to seven days. If symptoms last beyond this point, you may have a severe case of the flu and should seek treatment. The flu cannot be treated with antibiotics as with other infections, but your doctor can prescribe a treatment plan to help you feel better.

Flu-Like Symptoms After Vaccination

Some patients have also reported experiencing flu-like symptoms after getting vaccinated for either the flu or COVID-19. Typically, symptoms should subside within 24-48 hours.


COVID-19 (caused by a coronavirus called SARS-CoV-2) spreads through respiratory droplets and saliva. Symptoms can be moderate to severe just like the flu, with severe symptoms having lasting effects on a patient’s lungs and other important organs.

The most common signs of COVID-19 are similar to the flu and include:

  • Sore throat.
  • Chills.
  • Stuffy or runny nose.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Fatigue.
  • Fever.
  • Nausea or vomiting.
  • Muscle aches.

Socially distancing and continuing to be mindful of the recommended health protocols such as mask-wearing, getting vaccinated, and personal hygiene can help reduce your risk of contracting the virus.

Brushing Up on Personal Hygiene

Washing Your Hands

Did you know that over 95% of people wash their hands incorrectly? Even scarier, research shows that 33% of people don’t use soap. While many individuals use hand sanitizer as a replacement, it is not as effective as washing your hands with running water.

Washing your hands the right way is one of the best ways to ward off germs and shouldn’t take you longer than a minute — a short amount of time to keep you and all of those around you healthy. Here are the proper steps you should follow:

  • Wet your hands.
  • Apply soap & hot water.
  • Rub your palms together.
  • Rub the backs of hands together.
  • Interlace fingers.
  • Scrub your thumbs & rub palms with your fingertips.
  • Wash your hands off.
  • Dry your hands.

Remember, you should wash your hands:

  • Before and after you eat.
  • After you use the restroom.
  • If your hands are visibly dirty.
  • Throughout the day after touching public surfaces.

For the full infographic, click here.

Social Distancing & Mask Wearing

In addition to keeping your hands clean, it’s important to observe local health guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19. This means keeping 6 feet of space in public and wearing a mask when mandated — and in all public settings if it makes you feel more comfortable.

Getting Vaccinated

Each member of your household should get their annual flu shot — and you can stop in for yours at any of our Pinnacle HealthCare locations. No appointment necessary, just walk in anytime that works best for you, and together we'll make sure you've got flu season covered. You must be 18 years of age or older to get your flu shot

Those eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine should also do so. If you have any questions, you should speak with your doctor.

Urgent Care Services Across California & Arizona

Though you may have done everything you can to prevent illness, it’s possible to still become sick this winter — and our team is here to help. If you or a loved one believes they may be sick with COVID-19, contact our team at Pinnacle HealthCare today for testing and treatment options.