Protect Yourself Against Influenza and Covid-19 This Winter

There are several newly added health and safety precautions that we at Helmkamp and our customer facilities have implemented this year to keep construction going during the pandemic. While cases continue to rise in both Missouri and Illinois, we are also entering into cold and flu season which can make staying healthy even more challenging. Since Helmkamp’s first and foremost priority is employee safety and health, please reacquaint yourself with the below similarities and differences between Covid and the flu and how to protect yourself against them.

How are Covid-19 and the flu similar? They spread in the same ways. They both spread between people in close contact with each other, through respiratory droplets released when talking, sneezing, or coughing, and through touching a surface with one of the viruses on it and then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes.

Signs and symptoms in common include:
  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Tiredness
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle aches
  • Headache
  • Nausea

These symptoms can be mild or severe and it can be hard to diagnose which condition you have based on these symptoms alone. You may be tested for both viruses and it’s possible to have both at the same time.

How are Covid-19 and the flu different? They are caused by different viruses and symptoms appear at different times. Covid-19 symptoms usually appear two to 14 days after exposure where flu symptoms appear only one to four days after exposure. Covid-19 appears to be more contagious and spreads more quickly than the flu. With Covid-19, you may also experience a loss of taste or smell. The flu can be treated with an antiviral prescription and you can get an annual flu vaccine to help reduce your risk of the flu.

How can you avoid getting both viruses? You can take the same steps to reduce your risk of exposure and by following these precautions:
  • Avoid large gatherings and close contact with anyone outside your household, especially if you have a higher risk of serious illness
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water
  • Use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol
  • Wear a cloth face mask in public when it’s difficult to avoid contact with others
  • Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces “high-touch” surfaces, such as doorknobs, light switches, electronics, desks, and countertops, daily

Patience and diligence are the most important thing to remember during these times. Continue taking the time to clean workstations and tools, keep space between each other, and understand and monitor any of the above-mentioned symptoms. The Helmkamp office and jobsite supervisors are doing everything they can to keep everyone safe while preventing the spread of any sickness. If we protect the health and well-being of ourselves and each other, we will get through these times.