Ice Out Illness This Winter
More people become sick during wintertime than any other season, and is that so surprising? Forced inside due to blustery winds, blowing snow and bitter cold for prolonged periods of time, people inhabit communal areas at work, home or school. Shared machines, appliances, doorknobs and bathrooms create an environment for spreading germs or infection. The trifecta of common wintertime illnesses — influenza, pneumonia and sinusitis — make their unwanted return, along with respiratory infections. To make matters even worse, because they are viral, most sinus infections don’t respond to antibiotics.
Following are ways you can put a freeze on getting sick or hurt this winter:
- IT’S NOT TOO LATE
If you haven’t gotten your flu shot yet, that’s OK. Although a flu vaccination is more protective if obtained in late summer or early fall, it’s still advisable to get one, as it may boost immunity during the critical months of January through March.
- AND THE GREATEST RISK GOES TO….
Those at greatest risk of getting ill this winter are people who have immune deficiencies or chronic diseases, such as diabetes. Those regularly in contact with ill people, such as health care workers or teachers, are also at high risk.Protect yourself against illness by maintaining good health with a proper diet, staying up-to-date with immunizations and avoiding sick people. It’s important to exercise regularly throughout winter to maintain physical conditioning year-round. This helps reduce risk of infection and other acute or chronic health conditions. If you exercise outdoors, dress appropriately for the activity and conditions.
- WHEN TO SEE A PHYSICIAN
A healthy and balanced diet and adequate fluids daily are appropriate for a cold or fever. If fever is present, fluids such as water, teas and juices are even more important. When you eat a nutritional, well-balanced diet, many other factors fall in place that keep your body functioning optimally. Foods that are rich in nutrients help fight infections and may help prevent illness.
- WHEN TO SEE A PHYSICIAN
Got a lingering (more than seven to 10 days) respiratory illness? Start the car, and get to your doctor now! Adults and children with a fever about 103 degrees Fahrenheit, or those coughing up blood or with persistent nasal bleeding, should pay their doctor a visit. A severe and persistent headache with or without neck pain or stiffness is also cause for a visit.
- FROSTBITE CAN BE A SCARY REALITY
If you’re outside in cold weather for a prolonged period of time, be aware of pain, itching, numbness or paleness in any exposed body party or digits (fingers, toes, nose, etc.) If you are certain you or someone you know may have frostbite, it’s critical to respond to symptoms promptly. Gradually rewarm the victim by placing blankets or clothing over frostbitten areas or immersing frozen tissue into water held between 104-108 degrees Fahrenheit.
- FIND TIME FOR PEACE OF MIND
Maintaining mental health can be a challenge on dark, dreary winter days. Spending time with family and friends is beneficial in maintaining good mental health this winter. Find a peaceful hobby you enjoy, such as reading, journal writing and scrapbooking, or join a club — explore any activities or hobbies that interest you or provide personal satisfaction.
Source: Bryan Journeys