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Published on February 09, 2017

6 Tips for Getting Through Flu Season

Washing handsAs the height of cold, flu and general sickness are upon us, it’s a good time to refresh your memory on all the ways you can fight germs and try to avoid missing work or school.

1. Wash Your Hands

Regular hand-washing is the best way to stop the spread of germs that cause winter illnesses. Follow proper hand-washing techniques and try singing the “Happy Birthday” song twice to make sure you do a good job.

2. Check-Ups and Vaccinations

Most insurance companies provide free preventive exams (annual physicals or wellness visits). If you haven’t been in for a check-up in a while, now is the time to schedule! It’s also a good time to make sure you’re up-to-date on your vaccinations – especially your flu shot – to protect yourself and those around you.

3. Eat Well

We’ll admit it – fresh fruits and vegetables aren’t as appealing in the winter as they are in the summer. Add in the calories from holiday treats, and you may find yourself a few pounds heavier by the time spring comes around. Try to incorporate vegetables and fruits into your diet that are in-season during the winter: Brussels sprouts, squash, kiwi, oranges, pears and sweet potatoes, just to name a few!

4. Vitamin D

From October through March, many people in North America lack Vitamin D due to the angle of the sun. Vitamin D promotes healthy bones by assisting with calcium absorption, and can improve your mood if you experience seasonal depression. To ensure you are getting enough Vitamin D without help from the sun, you can make up for it in your diet with salmon, tuna or fortified milk, or by taking a supplement. Ask your primary care physician if you are getting enough Vitamin D.

5. Stay Warm

Cold weather can be hazardous to your health. When spending extended time outdoors on cold days, wear layers of light, warm clothing. Waterproof boots can keep your toes toasty, even when tromping through inches of snow. You should also take frequent breaks to go inside and warm up if you are working outside. As for kids, they can generally play outside comfortably when it’s 30 degrees and higher (also take the wind chill into consideration). From 20-30 degrees, be more cautious and take indoor breaks to warm up. At temperatures lower than 20 degrees, it’s best to keep kids indoors.

6. Check Your Furnace

Have your furnace cleaned and checked every year, especially if it is an older model. Furnaces that aren’t operating correctly can release carbon monoxide, a deadly gas, into your home. Carbon monoxide is odorless and colorless and can cause flu-like symptoms, disorientation, confusion and even death if undetected. Carbon monoxide detectors can be purchased to help monitor levels within your home.

Of course, even if you follow all the rules, you may still end up sick. But, you can shorten the time you spend in a MercyCare Urgent Care waiting room by scheduling your Urgent Care visit with eArrival. Just pick a location and time that work for you, and you’ll spend less time waiting once you arrive. And, don’t forget, if you do get sick, protect your coworkers and classmates by staying home until you’re better.

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