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Staying Healthy during Cold & Flu Season

By: Melinda Parker, School Nurse


During the winter months it may seem like a daily battle to stay healthy.  It is important to arm yourself and your children with good habits to try to keep cold/flu germs at bay.

 

The CDC offers a variety of tips for staying healthy.

1)   Get vaccinated. Although the flu vaccine won’t stop you from getting the flu it will often lessen your symptoms and the actual time you carry the virus. It’s not too late! Many local pharmacies and grocery stores, as well as most doctors offices are still offering the vaccination.

2)   Stay home when you are sick.  This is very important especially when reporting to school or work. When sick, if you venture out, you are infecting everyone you come in contact with.

3)   Cover your mouth and nose. Covering your mouth and nose with a tissue, your elbow, etc when sneezing and coughing may prevent germs from spreading to those around you.

4)   Clean your hands.  Wash, wash, wash!  Make sure to wash your hands with warm water and soap often. A fun way to help your younger children know how long they should be scrubbing their hands with soap before rinsing is to sing the “ABC’s” or “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star”. Not near a sink? Grab a squirt of Hand Sanitizer to hold you over.

5)   Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.  These areas are perfect entry points for those germs to get in.

6)   Practice other good health habits. Clean and disinfect frequently!  Clean your desks, school supplies, lunch boxes, water bottles, work spaces and home.  Make sure to drink plenty of fluids (especially water!), eat nutritional foods, get plenty of sleep and again…wash your hands often!

Find out more here:

https://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/preventing.htm

Once sick it is often hard to tell the difference between the common cold and the flu.  The CDC offers these tips for distinguishing between the two, but cautions that the best way to be sure, is to visit your local doctor or clinic for a flu test.

Colds often have a gradual symptom onset, they rarely have fevers, may have slights aches, and will sometimes cause fatigue or weakness. They commonly have sneezing, coughing, stuffy nose, and sore throats.  While the flu has an abrupt onset and usually has a fever, aches, chills and fatigue.  The flu may also have sneezing, stuffy nose, cough or sore throat.  Cold symptoms are generally milder than the flu.  Again, your best course of action when deciding whether it is the cold or flu is to be tested.

To learn more about cold and flu season and what you can do, visit the CDC here:

https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/qa/coldflu.htm

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