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Boost Up Cook County

Like sharing life’s most meaningful moments, show them love this holiday season, when you help them stay up to date on free COVID-19 and flu vaccines.

Protect Yourself and Others Against COVID-19 & Flu

Public health officials are strongly recommending that all residents give themselves and others a boost against COVID and flu during the Thanksgiving and winter holidays by following the tips below.

The virus that causes COVID-19 is changing over time. We expect these changes and call these genetic variations of the virus variants or subvariants. “Not all variants are created equal,” stated Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck, Cook County Department of Public Health (CCDPH) Chief Operating Officer. “Some variants are really contagious and cause more severe disease, while others are more difficult to spread and result in milder disease.”

Give yourself & your loved ones a boost this holiday season

CCDPH urges suburban Cook County residents to give themselves and their families the gift of health this holiday season by taking the following steps to prevent a winter surge in COVID and flu cases:

1.  Boost up – COVID-19 and flu vaccination are recommended for everyone 6 months and older. COVID-19 boosters are recommended for everyone 5 years and older. To find out if you are up-to-date on your shots, visit the CDC website.

2.  Ventilate – Socialize outdoors if possible and avoid poorly-ventilated indoor settings and large gatherings, especially if you are at increased risk of severe complications from COVID-19. Ventilate indoor spaces by opening windows and using HEPA filter air purifiers. If you are meeting friends or family in-person, choose an outdoor location when possible and space out.

3. Keep your distance – To avoid this possible exposure, you may want to avoid crowded areas, or keep distance between yourself and others. These actions also protect people who are at high risk for getting very sick from COVID-19 in settings where there are multiple risks for exposure.

4. Mask up – CCDPH strongly recommends with a well-fitting high-quality mask, such as a KN95 or N95 respirator, when in public indoor spaces or other places, including outdoors, when near others who may be unvaccinated. This is especially important for those who are considered at high risk for severe illness.

5. Get tested – Testing can tell you if you’re at risk of spreading COVID-19 or flu. Stock up on free test kits from COVID.GOV or your local pharmacy. Test immediately if you have symptoms or before indoor gatherings with others outside your household.

6. Get treated  – There are medications that can treat people at high risk of severe COVID or flu illness, to help prevent hospitalization and death. Treatments work best when started early. Contact your doctor as soon as you develop symptoms and/or test positive for COVID-19, to see if you are eligible for treatment.

7. Quarantine or isolate – Stay away from sick people. Quarantine if you were exposed to someone with a confirmed or suspected case of COVID or flu. Isolate (stay home from work or school and others in your household) if you are sick with COVID or flu.

8. Clean frequently-touched surfaces – The viruses that cause COVID-19 and flu can land on surfaces. It’s possible for people to become infected if they touch those surfaces and then touch their nose, mouth, or eyes. For tips on cleaning and disinfection, click here.

9. Wash hands often – Germs are all around you. Stay healthy by washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.

Updated November 1, 2022, 5:02 PM