COVID-19 and Cold/Flu Season 2021

The change of the seasons is in full swing throughout the country, and the United States is heading towards another cold and flu season in the midst of an ongoing pandemic. Children returning to school amid the dangerous politicization of public health attempts to increase vaccination and promote mitigation measures such as masks and social distancing has created a risk-filled environment for many across the country.

We’ve previously covered the differences between asthma, allergies, and COVID infection. It is even more vital to know the difference between symptoms for viral conditions such as a cold, the flu, and COVID-19. All three are spread in similar ways and share symptoms, but have varied incubation time and severity.

  • COVID-19 (coronavirus SARS-CoV-2) most common symptoms are a fever, cough and tiredness; other symptoms include muscle aches, sneezing, sore throat, runny/stuffy nose, nausea, diarrhea, and loss of smell/taste. Symptoms can appear anywhere between 2-14 days after exposure, during which time an infected individual can spread the coronavirus even if asymptomatic (not presenting symptoms). Complications can include blood clots and multisystem inflammatory syndrome. Most hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-19 can be prevented with a vaccine. Many symptoms of COVID-19 can be lessened with antiviral medications.
  • Colds (rhinoviruses) have similar symptoms to the novel coronavirus, but do not include diarrhea or nausea. Symptoms of a common cold usually appear one to three days after exposure. Colds are only transmissible while a person is symptomatic. There is no vaccine or cure for the common cold. Treatment may include pain relievers and over-the-counter cold remedies such as decongestants. Unlike COVID-19, a cold is usually harmless; most people recover from a common cold in 3-10 days.
  • The flu (influenza) has the same symptoms as COVID-19, but rarely causes loss of smell/taste. Flu symptoms usually appear about one to four days after exposure to an influenza virus. The flu is generally only transmissible while symptomatic and does not pose the same risk of severe illness as COVID-19. There are several antiviral treatments available to treat the flu, and an annual vaccine reduces the risk of infection and/or severe illness. The flu vaccine can be given as an injection or as a nasal spray.

If you have symptoms of COVID-19 or a confirmed exposure, it’s important that you contact a healthcare provider right away for medical advice. Tests are available to confirm diagnosis of COVID-19 and/or the flu. Stay home from work or school if you are sick.

Even if you have been fully vaccinated, wearing a mask and practicing social distancing reduces the

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COVID Vaccine Booster: Controversy or Necessary?

This article originally appeared on BeMedWise. An up-to-date version can be found here.

In the United States, the COVID vaccine is available to anyone over 12 years old for protection against severe COVID disease and death. Many have not taken advantage of this, either by not getting fully vaccinated or not getting vaccinated at all. Most of these people, aside from those who will be getting them due to vaccine mandates, are unlikely to get the vaccine any time soon.

In the meantime, Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson are still producing vaccines and more companies are working on them and hope to get approval soon. So what are we going to do with all this vaccine?

Clearly, some of it will be used for anyone 12 years old and older who want to be vaccinated, for the second shot of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine to complete the series, for any who will need it to comply with vaccine mandates, and children less than 12 years old once they’ve been approved for them.

The recent FDA and CDC discussions and decision was about who to begin giving booster shots to, not whether or

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Mental Illness Awareness Relieves Stigma

For over 30 years, the first full week of October has been Mental Illness Awareness Week. This year, the NeedyMeds blog has observed Mental Health Month in May, Minority Mental Health Month in July, and Suicide Prevention Month in September. We’ve discussed how everyone’s mental health matters, the unique factors affecting mental health for vulnerable populations, and how to prevent devastating outcomes, but we have not yet touched on the realities of mental illness in 2021.

Twenty percent of the population — as many as 65.6 million Americans — live with some kind of mental health condition, with nearly 5% living with a serious mental illness that substantially limits their life activities. Those living with mental illness fight stigma while trying to survive under profound internal duress. Awareness is important to ensure resources are made available to those who need them and the stigma and misconceptions surrounding mental illnesses can be reduced.

Everyone has stress and difficult emotions on occasion, and this is completely normal. Mental illness, however, is any condition that

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Talk About Your Medicines To Make Sense of Your Meds

October has been observed as Talk About Your Medicines Month (TAYMM) for over 35 years. Started by the BeMedWise Program at NeedyMeds, the awareness month is an annual opportunity to spotlight safe medicine use with the goal of improved health outcomes. This year’s theme is Understanding Medicine Labels – Making sense of your meds. Confusion about when and how much of a medicine can take can make treatments less effective, cause serious side effects or drug interactions, and negatively affect adherence. Our goal is to empower patients to maximize the benefits while minimizing the risks of the medications they are taking, and provide the tools they need to talk about their medicines.

When you are prescribed a drug, it’s important to carefully read the label and any other material given by the doctor or pharmacist to understand it to ensure your safety. All prescription medicine

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Abortions Are Essential Healthcare

Reproductive freedom is a civil right and abortion is an essential part of healthcare. Approximately one in five people capable of getting pregnant will have an abortion by age 30, and one in four by age 45. Multiple studies indicate that the inability to recieve abortion care places pregnant individuals further into poverty and harms their health as well as the wellbeing of their current and future children. Many people lack the means and access to decide whether to continue a pregnancy. Limits on federal funding for abortions cause significant harm to low-income people — particularly communities of color, LGTBQIA people, and residents of rural areas.

The ability to access abortion in a timely manner is critical to the health and safety of individuals seeking care. Delays in access increases the risk that a person may experience a medical complication and negatively impacts their social, emotional, and psychological well-being overall. Abortions later in pregnancy also cost more than procedures performed

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About Us

Welcome to the NeedyMeds Voice! We look forward to presenting you with timely, provocative pieces on healthcare reform, patient advocacy, medication and healthcare access, and other health-related news. Our goals are to educate, enlighten, and elucidate; together, we will try to make sense of the myriad and ongoing healthcare-related changes in the U.S. today.