It’s that time of year again. From minor colds to severe flus and fevers, seasonal sicknesses are unpredictable and can sneak up on your family at any time.
Unfortunately, even the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cannot predict the timing, severity and length of a seasonal virus. However, you can take steps to ward off illness and better monitor symptoms when you’re sick.
Check in with your doctor
Make an appointment with your primary care physician to get a look at your vitals. These are good indicators of overall wellness. Plus, it’s still a good idea to get that flu shot, if you haven’t already done so.
If you’re pregnant, have kids or are a caregiver to elderly parents, it’s even more important to get vaccinated, as these are the most at-risk groups for complications from flu. Many pharmacies offer quick, in-store vaccinations.
Practice healthy living
Maintain a healthy lifestyle. Get enough sleep, eat the right foods to ensure proper nutrition, drink plenty of water and exercise regularly. Avoid close contact with sick people and maintain a safe distance from others when you are sick. If necessary, stay home from work or school to keep your germs from spreading.
Cover your mouth and nose with a sleeve or tissue when coughing or sneezing. Sanitize doorknobs, light switches and work areas. Also, don’t forget to wash your hands or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer throughout the day to combat contamination.
Keep your cool
Even the best preparation can leave your family susceptible to cold and flu. Fever and chills are typically signs you’re getting sick. Remember, a fever isn’t always a bad thing. It means your body is working hard to fight off infection. But for parents of small children, putting feverish kids to bed at night can still be unnerving.
“A 24-hour temperature monitor that continuously records a child’s temperature readings could alleviate many parents’ concerns when caring for a sick child,” said Aris Eliades, director of nursing research at Akron Children’s Hospital in Ohio. “The child can rest, the parent can be alerted if anything changes, and we as nurses and physicians get needed information to make better decisions for patients.”
Take proactive steps for a healthy household. And when all else fails, grab a hot cup of tea with honey and lemon, a warm blanket and a good movie.