Take steps to protect yourself from illness

As we approach the holiday season and continue to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic, we are offering some friendly reminders about health and wellness:

• Be respectful: Wear a mask — Wear a mask when you’re in public to help slow the spread of COVID-19. Wear masks with two or more layers to help protect yourself and others from COVID-19.

• Establish social distancing — Practice social distancing by putting at least 6 feet of space between yourself and others who are not from your household. As we move most of our activities indoor, this is critically important.

• Wash your hands — Wash your hands often and thoroughly to help slow the spread of COVID-19. Encourage your family members, particularly children, to wash their hands frequently.

• Eradicate influenza risk: Get a flu shot — the CDC recommends annual influenza vaccination for everyone 6 months and older. Research suggests patients can get sick with both the flu and COVID-19 at the same time.

• Listen to your body: Don’t ignore routine healthcare — putting off regular visits to your physician or postponing care for chronic diseases may only exacerbate your condition. And, if you think you’re sick, stay home. Call ahead before visiting your doctor.

Limit holiday gatherings, especially indoor events. You should assess current COVID-19 levels in your community to determine whether to postpone, cancel or limit the number of attendees at celebrations.

— Robert W. Panton, MD, President, Illinois State Medical Society

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