Getting Ready for Cold and Flu Season (Part 1)
Cold and flu season is coming up very soon. And in this two-part series, I’ll be sharing information with you on how to get you and your family ready for cold and flu season. Additionally, I will be sharing information on how to talk with family or friends about why you take flu season so seriously.
When cold and flu season comes around, it can be very stressful. And if you are like me, you dread every moment of it. Additionally, if you have a respiratory illness, flu season can carry with it added anxieties, fears, and questions.
Flu season information
The flu virus tends to “ramp up” during October. It is important to take flu precautions seriously as it could save someone’s life. According to the World Health Organization, anywhere from 290,000 to 650,000 people die each year from flu related causes.1 This statistic can be startling, overwhelming, and scary. But it is important to remember that there are things you can do to protect yourself from the flu during flu season.
Dr. Sarah Lewis, Pharm. D from Health Grades has offered 10 ways to prepare for cold and flu season.2 And I’m going to share them with you today!
How to prepare for cold and flu season
- Stock your medicine cabinet. It is important to clean out your medicine cabinet every now and then. Medicines expire and you don’t want to take expired medications. You also want to make sure you know what you need to buy. Take note if you need to buy decongestants, pain relievers, nose sprays, or cough drops. Make sure your medicine cabinet has up to date medicines that you might need during cold and flu season.
- Load up on other health supplies. Some other health supplies that you may need are a thermometer, a heating pad, cool packs, or a humidifier. Make sure that you have what need to operate them properly. And check to make sure they all work, too!
- Fill your pantry with drinks and comfort foods. Going to the store when you’re sick is the last thing you want to do. Make sure that you have drinks available to stay hydrated if you’re sick. For example, Gatorade, water, and hot teas are good options for hydration. In addition, make sure you have some easy to make meals that you like, such as a frozen Bird’s Eye meal, frozen soup, etc.
- Practice proper hand washing. Hand washing can be one of the most effective tools in to prevent colds and the flu. At our house, we have a rule that we use year round! The moment my husband and I get home we wash our hands with warm, soapy water. That way the germs from outside don’t get on handles, remote controls, or door knobs.
- Keep your hands away from your face. This one is hard for me to remember, but so important. Cold and flu viruses can get into your system via your eyes, nose, and mouth. If you need to touch your face, wash your hands before and after. This way you protect yourself and others.
- Get a flu vaccine. The flu spreads differently from the cold virus, so getting a flu vaccine is very important. Each year, the flu vaccine is changed to help protect you from the most common strains. They are usually available beginning of September or October. You can get them at your doctor’s office or local pharmacy.
- Practice healthy living habits. Helping your immune system stay strong is part of having healthy living habits. What does that look like? It looks like eating healthy, staying hydrated, keeping your stress low, and doing your best to not get run down or tired.
- Clean household surfaces. Did you know that the cold virus and flu virus can live outside of the human body? Depending on the virus, it could survive for a couple of seconds to a couple of days. They also tend to survive longer on hard, non-porous surfaces, like desks and countertops. Keeping your household surfaces clean with products made to kill viruses can help protect you during cold and flu season. Look on the label of the product to see if what you are using meets the requirements for disinfectants.
- Make a plan for sick days. If you work outside of the home, make sure you have a plan for if you are sick. Even if you feel like you could work, if you are sick it is best to stay home if possible. If you are unable to stay home, let your boss know you’re sick. They may have tasks that can be completed where you aren’t around others. Additionally, you can wear a mask at work to help limit the spread of germs.
- Stop the spread of germs. If you are healthy, stay away from sick people if you can. And if you are sick, stay home if you can. Be sure to educate the children in your life so they can practice healthy habits at school.
Fall and winter viruses
Cold and flu season can be a stressful time, but there are ways to prepare for it. Make sure to practice healthy habits, get vaccinated, and stay informed on how to best protect you and your family. Additionally, make sure your home is ready for sick days and talk to your doctor about concerns. There are ways for you to protect yourself and your family from the fall and winter viruses.
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