In recent weeks, the healthcare landscape has been increasingly challenged by a surge in flu and COVID-19 cases. This uptick in illnesses has prompted more hospitals across the United States and other countries to implement stricter measures, including mandatory mask-wearing and visitor restrictions. Such steps are a response to the anticipated post-holiday spike in flu, COVID-19, and other illnesses, which, while not expected to be as deadly as some previous winters, still pose a significant threat to public health.

New York City, for instance, has reinstated a mask mandate in its 11 public hospitals. Similar actions have been taken in parts of Los Angeles and Massachusetts, with some hospitals having already reintroduced masking rules for employees months earlier in anticipation of the seasonal influx of patients. This cautious approach is understandable, considering the high levels of flu-like illness reported in 31 states just before Christmas, and the predictions that infections will continue to rise well into January. Similar spikes have been observed in other countries, leading to more hospitals requiring patients and medical staff to wear masks.

Dr. Mandy Cohen, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, noted an acceleration in flu cases at the start of January, particularly concerning given the simultaneous prevalence of COVID-19. However, there is a silver lining. Both flu and COVID-19 cases are expected to peak by the end of the month and then decline. This year’s flu cases are predominantly caused by a strain that typically results in fewer deaths and hospitalizations. Additionally, current flu vaccines appear to be well-matched to this strain, offering a layer of protection.

Despite these optimistic signs, the situation remains serious. Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious diseases expert at Vanderbilt University, described the current season as “moderately severe.” In light of this, it is crucial for individuals to take proactive steps in monitoring their health, especially as the healthcare system grapples with the increased patient load.

One effective measure is regular body temperature monitoring. Fever is a common symptom of both flu and COVID-19, and early detection can be key in seeking timely medical advice and preventing the spread of these illnesses. In this context, using a reliable and accurate thermometer becomes essential. The Exergen Temporal Artery Thermometer, known for its ease of use and precision, is an excellent tool for this purpose. By checking one’s temperature twice daily, individuals can better manage their health and contribute to the broader effort to control the spread of these infections.

As hospitals tighten safety measures in response to the flu and COVID-19 surge, individuals also have a role to play in monitoring their health. Regular temperature checks using highly dependable and easy-to-use thermometers like the Exergen Temporal Artery Thermometer can be a crucial part of this self-care routine, helping to safeguard personal health and assist in the broader public health effort.