School is back in-session and temperatures are cooling down, which means cold and flu season is just around the corner. Learn what precautions you can take now to prevent cold and flu later.
Cold and flu are contagious respiratory illnesses that spread through droplets in the air. These droplets are made when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks. You can catch a cold or flu simply by being near a sick person or by touching a surface where droplets are present. According to the CDC, people with flu can spread it to others up to 6 feet away! So, what can you do to stay healthy this fall? We outline 5 easy tips below.
- Get the flu vaccine. A yearly flu shot is the best protection against seasonal influenza. It is the first and most important step you can take to avoid getting sick. The American Association of Pediatrics recommends that the flu vaccine be given to everyone 6 months and older, preferably before the end of October.
- Wash your hands often. This simple, everyday action is an effective way to remove germs, avoid illness, and reduce the spread of cold and flu. Wash your hands with soap and water, scrubbing for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water aren’t readily available, you can also use an alcohol-based sanitizer to kill germs.
- Keep a clean environment. Take extra care to keep your home and work spaces clean during cold and flu season. Use disinfectant sprays to sanitize any surface where droplets could land. Pay special attention to the bathroom and kitchen, and replace sponges and rags often to minimize the spread of bacteria.
- Don’t touch your face. Whether by rubbing tired eyes, itching the nose, or covering a yawn, we all subconsciously touch our face throughout the day. Each time we do, we increase our chances of transferring bacteria and viral particles on our hands to the face, where they can enter the body.
- Practice a healthy lifestyle. During cold and flu season, it’s important to eat right (think fruits, veggies, and lean protein), exercise, and get adequate rest. Studies show that regular exercise can strengthen the body’s immune system. It is also a good idea to avoid close contact with sick people.
Even with the best precautions, you might still come down with the flu. If you’re suffering from symptoms such as a stuffy or runny nose, sore throat, cough, headache, and/or body aches, head into Gateway Family and Urgent Care today. Our providers can evaluate your illness and get you the care you need.