Winter Colds and Flu: Our ER Doctors Offer Prevention Tips
Colds and flu may be common in winter, but that doesn’t mean you want them to take you down from your busy work, family, and social schedule. You can take steps to avoid contracting one of these viruses. Prevention goes a long way in keeping you healthy during cold and flu season.
The Katy Emergency Room team offers 24-hour service seven days per week, but they don’t want you to have to take advantage of it due to preventable viral infections. Protect yourself from colds and the flu with these tips.
Keep up with sleep
Shorting yourself on sleep runs down your immune system. Aim for a healthy seven to nine hours each night to keep your system healthy.
Take in a balanced diet so you’re ensured a variety of nutrients. Make lean proteins, whole grains, and fresh fruits and vegetables the cornerstone of most meals. Colorful fruits and veggies also offer immune-boosting phytonutrients, so an extra helping of salad helps ward off cold and flu.
Wash your hands
Keep infection from spreading by washing your hands with warm water and soap regularly. Rub your hands together for at least 20 seconds to eliminate germs. Clean under your nails and between your fingers, too.
Watch where you put your hands
You transfer germs with your hands, by touching your eyes, rubbing your nose, or bringing your fingers unknowingly to your mouth. Keep your hands away from your face to prevent transmission of cold and flu germs.
You can’t get a vaccine for the common cold, but every year, you can take advantage of the latest flu vaccine. If you didn’t get this year’s vaccine in October or November, you can still benefit from getting it later into flu season, which can run until early May. Last year’s vaccine won’t protect you; the flu vaccine changes every year to deal with mutations that happen rapidly and lead to new infections.
Clean, clean, clean
Use disinfectant when you clean at home, particularly in the kitchen and bathroom. It doesn’t hurt to have a portable stock of disinfectant wipes to use on gym equipment, shopping carts, and airplane trays, too.
Be cautious at the workplace
Your co-workers may feel compelled to head to work, even when under the weather — exposing you to their germs. Protect yourself by holding meetings in wide open rooms, rather than closed spaces. Avoid sharing equipment, such as phone receivers, and wash your hands thoroughly after touching someone else’s computer or the public copier.
Avoid sick people
If you know someone who’s come down with the flu or a cold, avoid close contact. Teach your kids to cover their mouth when they sneeze or cough. Keep a family member who’s down for the count in a separate room and away from the rest of the family to discourage the infection from spreading.
If you should be unlucky enough to come down with a cold or the flu and have symptoms that have progressed to a possible sinus infection or lead to dehydration or a very high fever, don’t hesitate to visit Katy ER.
Katy Emergency Room, a Village Emergency Center facility located in Katy, Texas, is open for walk-in patients 24 hours per day, seven days per week. We never close, not even on holidays. A private, freestanding emergency room, Katy ER offers all of the same services and care as a hospital emergency room but with little or no wait time.