As the winter holidays get closer, infections are on the rise. This time of year, we tend to see more friends and family members falling ill with cases of the sniffles, coughs, and flu. As we get ready for parties and gift-giving, though, the last thing anyone wants to be is sick. If you are concerned about getting or spreading viruses of the cold and flu season, then keep reading to find out how you can limit spreading germs and stay in your holliest, jolliest health this year.
One of the best and easiest ways to prevent the spread of viruses and bacteria is to wash your hands! After using the restroom, before eating, and after you’ve had to sneeze or cough into them, your hands should get a thorough washing with soap and warm water.
The best kind of soap to use is, surprisingly enough, average hand soap you can find at the grocery store. While we often see anti-microbial soap advertised to help with cold prevention, sometimes these soaps can actually make bacteria change and evolve so that they are resistant to certain treatment methods. Your average hand soap, though, will disinfection effectively without unintentionally breeding treatment-resistant bacteria.
After a good hand washing, it is also important to replenish your hands’ moisture levels. Hot water and soap are great for killing infections, but they also strip your skin of its natural oils. Keep a good hand cream nearby to use after washing up so that your skin can stay strong and healthy to keep germs at bay.
Covering Your Cough
We’ve all seen someone cough or sneeze out in the open and not cover their mouths. There is a universal feeling of sympathy and dread when this happens, as we fear the spreading germs that comes from it. So, if you or a loved one happens to be ill, make sure you don’t become part of the problem.
Carrying tissues with you when you’re sick is a good way to help contain the contagions. You want to have something to sneeze or cough into when you need it, but sometimes we can run out of our secret tissue stashes and find ourselves stranded. In cases like these, it is best not to sneeze into your hands, but into your bent elbow instead.
Coughing into your elbow is considered a healthier choice than your hands for two main reasons. Firstly, the elbow is more effective at curtailing germs that might escape into the air. Secondly, it keeps your hands clean to prevent over washing or accidentally spreading germs by touching surfaces after a sneeze.
Get Plenty of Fluids
Whether you are sick or not, keeping your body properly hydrated and nourished is a good way to keep your body healthy this winter. Make sure you are getting enough water and encourage your kids to drink more water, too. Colds, fevers, and the flu are all conditions which might dehydrate your body quickly and leave you feel worse when you try to recover. So keeping your body properly hydrated is a good way to keep your antibodies strong and help them fight off infections.
If you struggle to get your kids to drink water, then try looking into sugar-free flavor packets or electrolyte boosting drinks like Pedialyte for your family. These drink options help to hydrate the body and provide extra nutrients to keep your body well fueled against the cold and flu season.
Play it Safe
Often times when we or our kids, start to feel a little sick, we try to tough through it. Not wanting to miss out on work, school, or holiday activities might lead people to push themselves beyond their healthy boundaries. This not only can make someone get sicker faster, but can make them more contagious to co-workers, family, and friends. If you feel like you are starting to get sick, then take it easy. Get some extra sleep, eat some nourishing, hearty soup, and drink plenty of water. Don’t push yourself to make every single holiday event if your body is feeling achy or sore.
Kids, as well, should be encouraged to stay home if they feel a bit flu-ish. While no one wants their child to miss school, sending sick kids to school can not only make it harder for them to recover, but can run serious risks of infecting their classmates. Make sure your kids don’t get their friends sick by playing it safe with recovery time and giving them the rest they need.
While cold and flu season is a struggle for us all, Red River ER hopes to keep Sherman happy and healthy for the holidays. With these tips to stop the spread of germs, you can lower your risk of getting sick this year. Just in case someone you love gets sick at the worst possible time, though, Red River ER is open 24/7, even on holidays, to give all of our patients concierge-level care.