Food and Health Topics: Coronavirus, Flu, and Staying Healthy | Connecticut Food Bank

Coronavirus, Flu, and Staying Healthy

Many of us are following the spread of a novel Coronavirus. The respiratory virus has captured our attention because it has rapidly spread, and many are concerned about their health and safety. The important thing to remember about this strain of Coronavirus is that it’s not currently widespread in Connecticut or in the U.S.

Flu has sickened millions in the U.S. this year and taken more than 10,000 lives so far this season. There are steps you can take to avoid illness or spread of illness that will help in the cases of both Flu and Coronavirus.

Contagious illnesses often get worse during winter months when people spend more time together indoors. That is why we see so much flu in winter months. This year is no exception. Flu is widespread in the U.S., including Connecticut. Flu is currently a more immediate threat to our health than Coronavirus, but the important thing to remember is that the same preventive behaviors are helpful to practice for both illnesses.

We are monitoring the current situation with Coronavirus and are in communication with our partners at Feeding America to be sure we are implementing proper plans and procedures to maintain the safety and continuity of our services.

For our network of programs, we encourage all volunteers and staff to protect their health and the health of people we serve together with some basic steps:

 Know your symptoms

Coronavirus, Flu, and strains of cold can all show symptoms of fever, cough, shortness of breath, or in some cases, difficulty breathing. Again, these are signs to watch for and to treat with rest, or with a visit to a clinic or healthcare provider if they do not improve or if they get worse.

If you’re not feeling well, stay home. People who are ill may share their germs with others. And people who are ill are already weakened, so any other spreading viruses may hit them harder than healthy individuals.

At home, at work, at school, at your place of worship, or anywhere in public:

  • Cover your cough! If you’re coughing or sneezing, the best way to prevent spreading germs is to cough into the crook of your arm, at the elbow.
  • Wash your hands often. Use warm water and soap. Wash thoroughly for at least 20 seconds – you can time yourself be singing the “alphabet song” or a chorus of “Happy Birthday to You.” Those childhood favorites will keep you on schedule.
  • Avoid touching your face, especially around your eyes, nose, and mouth, if you’ve been in contact with people who are ill or have been handling items touched by others. And wash your hands!

Protect yourself by getting enough sleep, exercise, and by eating right. Sleep and exercise help to keep your immune system in top fighting condition! Good nutrition practice means drinking plenty of water and eating fresh fruits and vegetables when you can get them. Remember that frozen and canned vegetables can offer the same nutrition as fresh; just be sure to look for low sodium options or to rinse canned vegetables before preparing or serving them. For canned fruits, look for low sugar options or for frozen options without syrup.

When serving visitors to your programs, encourage them to make healthy choices in selecting foods and consider sharing information about Flu and Coronavirus. There are resources available for you to display at your locations and to learn more.

Reminders and Important Tips:

  • Get your flu shot; it’s not too late! It won’t protect against Coronavirus, but it will help protect you against flu, which is widespread and sickening many people across the U.S.
  • Wash your hands frequently, especially after handling items touched by others and before eating.
  • Cover your cough. Cough or sneeze into your elbow, or into a tissue; be sure to properly dispose used tissues.
  • Get plenty of rest, exercise, drink plenty of water, and eat healthful foods. These activities will help support a strong immune system.
  • If you’re not feeling well, stay home. Consult a health care provider if you have a temperature, a cough, or trouble breathing.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick; handwashing before and after meetings and social occasions is also helpful.
  • Reduce social contact like handshaking and hugs. Elbow bumps, fist bumps, smiles, and waves are friendly ways to greet and reduce spread of germs.

Helpful links:

Flu info and prevention tips: www.flu.gov

Coronavirus info and tips: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html

“Cover Your Cough”/”Wash Your Hands” posters in English and Spanish