This chilly time of year, full of magical snowflakes and holidays, is not known as cold and flu season without good reason. Knowing what to do when you get a cold, and some steps you can take to avoid being sick, is critical at this time of year, so here’s some advice from the team at Franklin VNA & Hospice.
First, if you haven’t gotten your flu shot, it’s not too late! If you’re over 65, or have certain medical conditions that may weaken your immune system, your doctor may also recommend two different types of pneumonia shost. These two shots taken together prevent over 40 different types of pneumonia and are a worthwhile vaccination.
Next, wash your hands! Hand washing is hands-down, pardon the pun, the most effective way of preventing the common cold and many other virus and bacterial infections. As a refresher, we should always wash your hands after using the bathroom, cleaning around the house, touching animals and pets, or blowing your nose, coughing and sneezing. We should also wash before we eat or cook, and any time after our hands become dirty or soiled. This includes grocery cart handles, any public door knobs, shared keyboards, shaking hands, and after we touch anything else a bunch of other people have touched.
Consider a “sick-day box”. This can be a box or shelf where you keep the name and number of your primary care and other providers, your pharmacy number, a few cans of ginger ale, a box of tissues, hand sanitizer, medications to relieve pain and fever, decongestants and cough syrup. Include a thermometer, with batteries if needed, and maybe even some tea bags, broth packets, and a few packets of peanut butter and crackers, or other shelf-stable snack. This way if you do get sick, you can easily treat yourself, or a loved one. If you have a chronic illness, like diabetes or COPD, talk with your provider about special additions to your sick box, like blood test strips or emergency inhalers they may want you to keep on hand.
If you do get sick, cover every time you cough or sneeze, and wash your hands often, especially after you touch your face. Stay home and rest so you get better soon, and if your condition worsens, see your provider. If you must go out, don’t visit babies, the elderly, people who are on treatment for cancer or on immune system suppressing medications, or anyone you know who is in frail health. Being sick is especially risky for them.
Here’s to keeping ourselves and our loved ones healthy and happy this season.
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For more information, call Franklin VNA & Hospice at (603) 934-3454 or visit www.FranklinVNA.org.