Rebecca Katzman, MDBy Dr. Rebecca Katzman

We have all had a difficult 20-plus months. Few of us expected to see a crisis like this in our lifetimes, not just as healthcare providers, but as people living in this world.

Everyone has had to make sacrifices, adjust our everyday activities, change the way we understand risk, and recognize how our decisions affect others

As we head into the fall and winter months, the risk of exposure to illness and disease increases. Holidays can be stressful. Eating healthfully gets sidetracked. We become more sedentary.

Respiratory illnesses, such as influenza, start to surge. These can be prevented with some of the same simple measures that have been suggested over the last year.

Adjustments may need to be made for safe travel.

Make thoughtful choices. Even if you do not worry that what you do may affect others, recognize that what other people do can have an impact on your wellbeing.

An ounce of prevention being worth a pound of cure is not just an adage. As hospitals remain full and resources spread thin, taking steps to avoid illness is more important than ever.

Sometimes the most basic steps can help keep us healthy and safe. The keys to good health are simple (drink more water, get more sleep, get regular exercise), but that does not mean they are always easy.

Know that your healthcare team is there if you have questions about staying healthy or what to do when you are sick. Sometimes the answers are obvious but sometimes they may seem hidden.