Respiratory Health Is Not All Hot Air

Stay Healthy and Well This Cold and Flu Season

The moment you get that scratchy feeling in your throat, you know what’s coming: You’ve caught a cold or maybe even the flu or COVID-19. But which is it, and how should you handle it? Here are some tips to help you diagnose and treat your illness.

Colds are likely to include these symptoms:

  • Sneezing
  • Congestion
  • Sore throat
  • Cough

If you have a cold, drink plenty of fluids and get your rest.

Flu often includes these symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion
  • Aches
  • Chills
  • Fatigue
  • Headache

If you believe you have the flu, talk to your doctor about antiviral drugs. These prescription medications can be used to treat the flu and work best when taken as soon as possible. 

COVID-19 may include these symptoms:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue
  • Headache and muscle or body aches
  • New loss of sense of smell or taste
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Most people who contract COVID-19 experience mild symptoms and are able to recover at home. They should isolate at home to avoid spreading the virus. 

Contact your doctor if you are concerned about your symptoms. Seek emergency care if you have trouble breathing, experience pain or pressure in your chest, feel confused or unable to stay awake, or your lips or face appear bluish in color.

Tips to Stay Healthy
Along with keeping your hands clean and avoiding germs, follow these tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention* (CDC) to slow the spread of germs:

  • Don’t get close to people who are sick. If you are sick, protect others by staying home.
  • Prevent the airborne spread of germs by coughing or sneezing into a tissue or into the crook of your arm. Avoid using your hand because that will cause you to spread germs to everything you touch.
  • Never touch your face without washing your hands first. Illness can spread easily through the eyes, nose or mouth.
  • If someone in your household is sick, clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces to eliminate germs.
  • Give your immune system a boost by maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Get plenty of sleep and exercise, drink lots of water, and eat nutritious foods.

Get Vaccinated
Studies have found the COVID-19 vaccine to be safe and effective. It is widely available at no cost to you. The vaccine works by teaching your immune system how to recognize and fight the virus that causes COVID-19. 

To find a vaccination site near you, visit, text your ZIP code to 438829 or call 800-232-0233.

Vaccines are also effective in preventing the flu. Serious cases of the flu can result in hospitalization or even death, which is why it’s so important to get your annual vaccination. The CDC reports that in the United States during the 2019 – 2020 flu season, vaccines prevented an estimated:

  • 7.5 million influenza illnesses. 
  • 3.7 million flu-associated medical visits.
  • 104,000 flu-related hospitalizations.
  • 6,300 flu-related deaths. 

The CDC recommends everyone ages 6 months and older get a flu shot each year. 
When you register for the FOCUSfwd® Wellness Incentive Program you’ll receive five entries into the Sweepstakes for getting your flu vaccine, increasing your chances of winning one of the $1,000 quarterly and $5,000 annual cash rewards. You’ll also be one step closer to completing the FOCUS Points program. With FOCUS Points, you get rewarded for completing activities that are important to improving your overall health. You’ll earn a $25 cash reward and 25 entries into the Sweepstakes when you complete your Personal Health Assessment in FOCUSfwd, get an annual wellness exam, and complete certain preventive screenings or get a flu vaccine.

This cold and flu season, keep yourself and your loved ones safe and healthy by getting vaccinated and slowing the spread of germs.

*The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is an independent organization that provides health information you may find helpful.