The holidays are here, but they’re not just bringing gifts. It happens every year. With the advent of Hanukkah, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve comes the infamous cold and flu season. Kids are sneezing, parents are coughing, and the risk of inconvenient illnesses seems to lurk around every corner.
There’s no reason to fear, though! Golden Triangle Emergency Center is here to help with what we call the Cold & Flu Season Survival Guide. These tips and tricks will help your whole family stay healthy and happy during the holidays. From washing your hands properly to eating the right foods, this crash course will show you how to lower your risks of getting sick as well as how to shake off a cold faster.
Stop Spreading Germs!
The first step to getting through the Cold & Flu Season in tip top shape is, of course, to never get sick. This can be a lofty goal for many families, since contagious germs seem to be everywhere. Kids who go to school, daycare, or afterschool activities are exposed to their classmates’ germs and parents who work in large offices might be at risk from their co-workers. Adding in the everyday exposure we all get when going to the grocery store, taking a walk, or dropping by a friend’s holiday party, and there are more ways to spread a cold than we can count.
But this doesn’t mean you have to be part of the problem. Decreasing how many germs you spread and pick up every day can be simple with two easy routines:
- Wash Your Hands: being diligent about washing your hands before you eat and after you use the restroom can be instrumental and lowering your risk of catching a cold or contracting the flu. Washing your hands regularly will stop any germs you might come in contact with throughout the day from making it to your mouth or eyes when you eat, scratch an itch, rub your face, or during personal grooming. This makes it harder for viruses to infect you and your family, thus making your risk of getting ill much lower.
- Cover Your Coughs & Sneezes: No matter if you’re actually sick or if your nose just got irritated for one moment, sneezing or coughing around others is not only rude, it can be a health risk. Every time we sneeze or cough, some of our mucus will spray into the air, which makes it highly effective in breeding and transferring new viruses. Colds and the flu are spread by sneezing and coughing, so even if you don’t feel sick, it is important to practice covering your coughs. Teach your children to look for tissues when they’re going to sneeze, or if there are no tissues available, you can teach them to cough or sneeze into the crook of their bent elbow. Using your elbow to cover up is more effective, and more sanitary, than using your hands because it stifles the cough more effectively and it keeps your hands clean and safe.
Some people also like to carry hand sanitizer with them during this time of year, just in case, and this can be helpful as well. However, nothing is quite as effective at limiting illness than clean hands and covered coughs.
To get through the flu half of the Cold & Flu Season unscathed, there is no better way than to get your annual flu shot. Many families have already gotten vaccinated for the year, but some have not. Even though it is December, it is never too late to get your flu vaccine, and anyone who might be worried about getting sick should talk with their doctor right away about getting a flu shot.
After last year’s news worthy flu season, some families might also be worried about whether or not the flu shot is effective. While scientists agree that the 2017-2018 flu was a different strain than they anticipated, this year’s research has only made the flu shot more effective. The flu shot can not only prevent you from getting sick with the flu at all, but in cases where patients who have been vaccinated do get the flu, the shot makes their symptoms less severe and helps the to recover much faster.
Remember, the flu season lasts through January and February as well, so make sure you’re prepared for it.
Eating (and Drinking) Right!
A nourished body is a strong body, so making sure your family stays healthy during the holidays isn’t just about avoiding contagious germs. It comes down to how you fuel your body, and the vitamins you get. Multivitamins and immune boosters might help for some people, but no matter what kind of daily supplements you get, nothing is effective as getting your nutrients through the foods you eat and the things you drink.
- Staying hydrated is incredibly important. While many people prefer hot drinks during the winter season, getting daily water is vital to maintaining a healthy body and fighting off colds and the flu. Drink water and all-natural fruit juice, orange juice is a favorite, to keep your vitamin C up.
- Avoid excessive sugars and preservatives. The holidays are a time for lots of home baking and holiday cheer but be careful with how much you’re indulging at holiday celebrations. Limit your family’s extra desserts and try to avoid eating too many processed foods that have extra preservatives and additives in them.
- Eat vegetables every day. This is something many parents try to encourage in their children, but it can be difficult to eat fruits and veggies sometimes. If your children refuse to eat vegetables, then try making new homemade soups with lots of vegetables boiled in the stock. This way, even if your kids pick around the veggies themselves, the broth they drink up will have many of the vitamins and nutrients from the vegetables already in it.
Making sure your body is nourished is important to prevent colds and the flu, but if someone you love has fallen ill, then it is even more important to keep them hydrated and well fed. Even if you feel a tiny tickle in the back of your throat, drink extra water and cut back on the dessert. Your body will only get stronger if you give it the best.
Getting through the Cold & Flu Season can be challenging sometimes. Some years, it might be a breeze, while others might make you feel like it is impossible not to get sick. By following these simple guidelines, you can give yourself a fighting chance at getting through the holidays without falling ill. If someone in your family does get sick, though, then don’t worry! Golden Triangle Emergency Center is here for you. Our facilities are open 24/7, even on holidays, with concierge-level care for all ages.
Nutex Health, Inc supports you and your family’s health. You can depend on Golden Triangle Emergency Center or any one of our concierge-level, freestanding emergency facilities to deliver the emergency care you deserve, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.