Winter is an exciting time for many people. However, it can be challenging to enjoy the holidays if you need to prepare for the cold and flu season. Overcrowded public spaces, stress, and lack of sleep contribute to winter ailments such as colds, flu, coughs, and sore throats. To prevent any illness from taking hold during this time of year, here are a few tips on what you can do.
Know Common Ailments and How to Avoid Them
According to the CDC, from October to December 2022, there have been 15-33 million flu cases, 7.3-16 million flu case medical visits, up to 330,00 flu hospitalizations, and up to 28,000 flu deaths.
The best way to stay healthy during winter is to know what’s going on with your body and how to react if something goes wrong. Knowing the difference between a cold, the flu, and pneumonia can help prevent illness-related complications like dehydration and hospitalization.
It would help if you also were wary of common ailments such as sore throats or coughs that could lead to more severe conditions. If you are experiencing any symptoms of a cold or feverishness, or muscle pain, don’t ignore them since they could indicate something more serious.
Prepare Your Medications Before You Get Sick
The best way to be prepared for the upcoming winter is to prepare your medication before you get sick. Make sure you have enough of all the medicines you and your family take, including over-the-counter medications such as cough syrup, cold medicine, and pain relievers.
You should also keep a first aid kit on hand so that if anyone in the family gets injured or becomes ill, they can treat themselves at home until they can see a doctor or nurse practitioner. It’s also vital that everyone keeps their prescriptions up to date, and if there are any changes in dosage amounts, they should let their doctor know so they can adjust accordingly.
Be Aware of Urgent Care Clinics in Your Area
Urgent care clinics are open during regular business hours but offer same-day appointments and after-hours services. The latter is especially useful for people who don’t have a primary care physician or require treatment outside regular business hours. Plus, urgent care clinics offer walk-in services, meaning you don’t have to schedule an appointment before visiting one of these facilities.
There are over 366 urgent care clinics in New York, with 103 in New York City. This means if you ever face a medical emergency, you are sure to find an urgent care clinic wherever you are. And as mentioned before, you can simply walk in and get the required care.
If you reside in Brooklyn, an urgent care clinic in Brooklyn, like Doral Health and Wellness, can come in handy for emergencies. Doral Health and Wellness is equipped to handle cases like urgent care, primary care, emergency care, and women’s health care. The best part is even if you are in the advanced stages of illness, you can walk in and have a doctor tend to you.
On top of everything else, the convenience of an urgent care clinic can be ideal for those with busy schedules or those who aren’t able to get into the doctor’s office during their regular hours.
Urgent care clinics like Doral Health and Wellness often accept insurance plans from most major providers and Medicaid, Medicare Advantage, and other state programs that provide medical coverage for low-income individuals.
Wash Your Hands Often
According to the CDC, washing hands can prevent 1 in 5 respiratory illnesses like cold or flu. Hand washing is essential in preventing the spread of infections and disease, especially during cold and flu season.
The best way to wash your hands is with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Make sure to lather between fingers, under nails, on the backs of hands, wrists, and arms up to the elbow. Avoid using alcohol-based hand sanitizers because they do not work as well as proper handwashing techniques.
When should you be washing your hands? Wash them after sneezing or coughing into a tissue, before eating food, after using the restroom, after touching anything in public places like grocery stores where there are lots of people walking around, before preparing meals for other family members, when coming home from school or daycare centers, etc.
These are prime places where germs can spread quickly. Avoid sharing personal items such as towels/washcloths, so everyone gets clean without bringing any unwanted guests along for the ride. Ensure every household member knows about these tips, so no one feels left out when trying new things this winter season.
Get a Flu Shot
According to the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases, only 49% of U.S. adults plan to get their flu shot this flu season. However, getting a flu shot is the single most effective way to protect yourself from getting sick with the flu this winter.
Flu shots are available at most pharmacies and clinics, and they’re recommended for everyone over the age of 6 months. If you prefer to receive your vaccination from your doctor, ask if it’s necessary that you come into their office for an injection or if there are other options.
If you haven’t had a flu shot yet this season, call around to find out where near you will offer them before going in person. Flu shots are safe, effective, and inexpensive.
They cost about $25-35 depending on which pharmacy or clinic you go to, and they require only one visit so that they won’t take up too much time out of your day. Plus, having one less thing on your to-do list means more time spent enjoying life indoors while those around us suffer through winter illnesses.
Keep Your Home Warm
If you’re spending a lot of time at home, ensure your home is warm enough. Keep the thermostat set at a comfortable temperature, and close windows and doors when you leave the house. You can use a space heater only when necessary.
Insulation can keep heat in your home during winter, so install some if you still need to. It will help keep your home warmer on those cold days that come along now and then.
Eat Healthy Meals
Make sure to eat a balanced diet that includes fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein, and drink plenty of water. Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. Eating lots of fresh fruit and vegetables helps you fight winter ailments by preparing your immune system for the cold weather. The vitamins and minerals in fruits can help build your body’s defenses against viruses and bacteria.
Remember grains! Grains such as oats are a great source of fiber which can help prevent constipation during the winter months when we’re not moving around much outside due to low temperatures or snowfall conditions, depending on where you live. Eating whole-grain foods also provides more energy than refined versions without all those empty calories we don’t need right now.
Take Vitamins if Needed
Taking vitamins is a good idea, especially during the winter months. As we all know, vitamins are essential for our health as they help with digestion, energy levels, and overall well-being. But did you know that they can also help prevent colds and other illnesses?
In addition to helping you recover from illness faster when you do get sick, vitamins can also help protect against getting sick in the first place. By taking them regularly throughout the year, not just during the cold season, you’ll be less likely to catch bugs that could lead to an infection or illness.
Vitamins C and E are two examples of critical nutrients that will boost your immune system during cold weather months. Other vitamins like B6 may also be beneficial if your doctor recommends them after completing a blood test where deficiencies have been detected
With some preparation, you can stay healthy and active all winter long. The most important thing is to be aware of the possibility that you might get sick with a cold or flu so that you can take steps to prevent it from happening. If you know the symptoms, then it is easier to recognize when they show up.