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In the Spotlight

Coronavirus and You

Protect yourself from what is here and now

Veteran washing their handsMany people likely grew a little nervous after hearing that the coronavirus had spread within the United States. But we have one simple message: keep doing what you're doing to stay healthy.

VA is closely monitoring an outbreak of respiratory illness, named COVID-19, caused by the coronavirus. Doctors first identified the virus in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. The CDC is working with the World Health Organization (WHO), other government agencies, along with state and local officials to respond to this emerging public health threat.

Get ahead of it

Even though there is no vaccine to prevent COVID-19, here are a few practical ideas to protect yourself and your loved ones:

  • Get a flu shot

  • Take everyday preventive actions to stop the spread of germs

    • Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds

    • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer

    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands

    • Avoid close contact with people who are sick

    • Stay home when you're sick or becoming sick

    • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue (not your hands) and throw the tissue in the trash

    • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces

Call your VA Medical Center if you have symptoms of fever, cough, and shortness of breath and have recently returned from China or have been exposed to others diagnosed.

Keep an eye on COVID-19, but remember the flu

There have been at least 39 million flu cases so far this season nationwide, with 400,000 hospitalizations and 24,000 flu deaths.

What's important to remember is that anyone can get the flu. But you are more likely to become infected if you:

  • Have a weakened immune system

  • Have frequent, close contact with young children

  • Work in a health care setting where you may be exposed to flu germs

  • Live or work with someone who has the flu

  • Haven't received an annual flu shot

Get your flu shot

Vaccination is the surest way to protect against getting the flu. Finding a place to get your flu vaccine is easier than you think. Veterans who are receiving VA health care can get the flu shot at a nearby VA health care facility. If you have non-VA health care providers, you can learn where to get your flu shot from the CDC's Flu Vaccine Finder.

Read More

Have a Successful Video Visit

VA Influenza Self-Assessment Tool

Coronavirus: Prevention and Treatment (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

Travel Health Notices (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

Updated October 13, 2020