Colder weather is sweater weather, and that means it’s time for apple picking, pumpkin patches and the holiday season. But it also means it’s flu season. The influenza (flu) virus thrives as temperatures in the air drop, causing those infected to feel aches and pains, have sinus congestion and headaches, and even risk a fever. Due to the nature of the flu, it survives longer in colder temperatures and can transfer from person to person quicker. While a typical “flu season” is from October through February, anyone can contract the virus at any point during the year. Take a look at these tips and tricks to keeping you, your family and your loved ones safe this holiday season.
Tips to Stay Healthy
- Wash your hands. This is the most obvious way to prevent getting a cold or flu. Washing your hands often, especially after touching surfaces that foster germs, for 20 seconds under warm water can help keep yourself clean and safe against the virus.
- Bundle up. Keeping yourself warm and dry while outdoors can help protect your body from the flu. Consider bundling up with a hat, scarf and gloves when going outside in cold weather.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Along with washing your hands, avoid touching areas that lead directly into your body such as your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs that stick to your hands and fingers can easily be transmitted into your body through these vantage points.
- Sanitize often. Clean commonly touched surfaces often with antibacterial wipes or cleaner. These surfaces include but are not limited to a steering wheel, door knobs and handles, light switches, cell phones and other electronic devices, and appliances.
- Take vitamins. Taking vitamin C and zinc are known for giving your immune system an extra boat to defend your body against the virus. Consult with your primary care physician on the proper dosage of these vitamins for you.
- Stay hydrated. Drinking water is important for your health. Drinking water goes beyond hydrating your body, it helps support your body’s natural functions, including fighting illness.
- Avoid those who are sick. While this may sound simple, the holidays are a season to cherish time with loved ones, and many folks will put illness aside to spend time with others. If you are sick, isolate yourself from others for at least 24 hours. If you are planning a trip, consider staying home and resting to prevent others from getting sick. If you are around someone who is sick, avoid making direct contact with them and wash your hands often.
- Get rest. When we do not sleep enough, our bodies get thrown off course and your immune system can weaken. Avoid stress and get a good night’s sleep to help your body recharge and be strong to fight off a potential virus.
- Talk with your doctor. Whether you are a healthy individual or suffer from preexisting health conditions, talk with your doctor about the ways that are best for you to protect yourself this flu season. They may be able to offer additional advice. If you are experiencing symptoms, contact your doctor immediately to get the treatment that is right for you.