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IMPORTANT NOTICE: COVID-19 testing appointments are not available at Cone Health emergency departments or urgent care locations. Click here for testing options.

Published on October 12, 2021

Fight Flu and COVID-19: 4 Tips to Keep You Well

Cold and flu season is right around the corner. More contagious COVID-19 variants are spreading in our community. Stay well with these 4 tips to fight flu, COVID-19 and other illnesses from Valerie Leschber, MD, chief medical officer, Cone Health.

Tip 1: Protect yourself from severe illness by getting the COVID-19 and flu vaccines.

It's important to be vaccinated for COVID-19 for several reasons:

  • First, this variant of COVID is much more infectious than what we saw when it was first introduced to our community.
  • Secondly, COVID-19 vaccines are safe, effective and protect you from severe illness and hospitalization.
  • Also, by you being vaccinated, you can help protect those around you who are not yet eligible to receive their own vaccine.

It's also important to get your flu shot. Just as with COVID-19, vaccination against influenza can help prevent the most serious complications resulting in hospitalization.

Flu shots are readily available at your provider's offices, pharmacies and other community clinics.

If you have questions about receiving your flu vaccine or your COVID-19 vaccine, please talk to your health care provider.

Tip 2: Practice infection prevention – it will protect you from COVID-19, flu and other illnesses.

Last flu season was mild because more people were practicing healthy habits to prevent COVID-19.

Good infection prevention includes:

  • Washing your hands frequently.
  • Waiting a physical distance from others, especially in public or indoors.
  • Wearing a mask that covers your nose and your mouth.

Continue protecting yourself and your family from COVID-19, flu and other respiratory illnesses by practicing these infection prevention habits.

Tip 3: Get tested if you have symptoms of COVID-19 or if you've been exposed.

The delta variant is even more contagious than chickenpox. It spreads rapidly – more rapidly than the original variant of COVID.

Because of this rapid spread, it's possible that you could be infected and not even show symptoms – but still spread the illness to others.

Because of this, it's important to get tested as soon as you've been exposed or as soon as you begin showing symptoms. Please make an appointment to be tested. And remember: to avoid long wait times don't use the emergency rooms or urgent care centers for COVID-19 testing.  

Visit to schedule a testing appointment.

Tip 4: Know where to go for medical care.

Long wait times are unfortunately common today across our state and our nation because of unvaccinated people seeking emergency care for their COVID-19 symptoms.

For emergency conditions like shortness of breath, chest pain, weakness or slurred speech, you should go to the nearest emergency room or call 911.  

For non-emergency symptoms like cough, cold or ear infection, there are quicker options available, like virtual care.

Find the right care options at

Schedule an appointment for a COVID-19 vaccine.

COVID-19 vaccines protect you from severe illness and hospitalization. Find a vaccination clinic near you and schedule an appointment at

Fight Flu and COVID-19: 4 Tips to Keep You Well