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Now What? The Latest Smart Advice on Living with COVID-19 in the Air

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Many of the practices you integrated into your daily routine early in the pandemic remain important parts of your prevention toolkit. But with effective COVID-19 vaccines finally available to people of virtually all ages in the U.S., you can take more steps to protect yourself and your family against the disease. Here’s a refresh for your awareness of what it takes to stay safe—and how you can resume more normal activities once you’re vaccinated.

Mask up, wash up

It’s still a fact that not everyone who’s got COVID-19 feels or appears to be sick. Masks are an essential way to help protect other people—and yourself—from the risk of disease. Washing your hands and being careful not to touch your eyes, nose, or mouth unless you’ve scrubbed up keeps you from getting sick in general and from COVID-19, in particular. In fact, one of the side benefits of masks, increased hand washing, and social distancing during the pandemic has been a dramatic reduction in cases of influenza

With that said, some parts of the U.S. are beginning to relax their mask mandates even though we’re still required to wear face coverings in a lot of places. And the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention created a lot of excited buzz with the announcement that their guidelines were changing to say that fully vaccinated people can resume normal activities—indoors or outdoors—without wearing masks, except where it’s required by law or local business and workplace guidelines. 

Don’t skip your second shot—or your first

That’s even more reason to get vaccinated. With multiple options available at hospitals, other health care facilities, pharmacies, and even big sporting venues such as the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, you can find your preferred vaccine, a location to get the shot, and sign up online.

Sure some people experience side effects from the COVID-19 vaccine, but almost all of them are mild and short-lived. And remember you can’t catch COVID-19 from a vaccination, so the side effects—maybe a mild fever, aches and pains, chills, or soreness at the vaccination site—are your immune system’s signal that the vaccination is working. 

And once you get your first shot of the two-dose vaccines, don’t forget to get your second. Depending on how the vaccination site is set up, if you receive one of the two-dose options, you’ll typically leave the with an appointment for your second dose scheduled for a few weeks after your first—and if you want the real benefits of vaccination, that second dose is critical. Some people worry about possible side effects following a second dose, or don’t realize that they aren’t really protected without it. But take the smart approach and complete your vaccination.

Take care of yourself

The pandemic has made life difficult for everyone with disruptions at work, school, and in leisure activities. You still need smart precautions to stay safe, but if you make the right choices for your health, you can add a lot of familiar activities back into your routine.

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