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  • Writer's pictureJodie Harrington FNP

Holiday Season is Here!!!

The holidays are just around the corner and this may mean different things to different people. The experiences that we have during this season are most likely a direct result of the people that we are spending them with. Enjoying dinner, drinks, or awkward silences during the holidays are just some of the experiences that people endure, but no matter what the holidays bring, one thing is certain to show up in your house at some point, cold and/or flu viruses!

The colder weather and holidays get-togethers bring people indoors and closer together where germs are easily spread through close personal contact. Here are a few tips to help prevent sickness from taking time away from you this year:

1. WASH YOUR HANDS! Hand hygiene is the most important step to avoid getting sick this year. While you cannot control what other people do, you can control what germs make it from your hand to your mouth and nose area. Be mindful of when you touch common items like door knobs, office phones, handrails, and community keyboards to name a few. When touching these items, try not to touch your face before washing your hands or using a hand sanitizer.

2. Get your flu shot. This may not always prevent you from getting sick, but it greatly decreases your chances of getting the common strains of the flu, thus preventing people around you from getting sick as well. This is especially important for elderly patients and younger children who's immune systems may not be as robust.

3. Cover your cough. This is important if you, or others around you, are sick. Covering your cough prevents the droplets of fluid from traveling through the air to others that may be close to you. Covering your cough with the nook of your elbow, instead of your hands, also helps to keep germs from being spread by your hands.

4. Get plenty of sleep. Getting rest helps the body recover and better prepares your immune system to fight off any viruses that you may encounter. During the holidays, people tend to stay up later and day time activity is likely to increase, expending more energy and increasing exposure to other people. If you are starting to feel sick, getting rest will help fight the illness sooner and could keep you from feeling the symptoms as severely if you were to try to power through the illness. If you do begin to feel sick, drink plenty of fluids and take over the counter medicines to help manage the symptoms you may be feeling.

These tips offer ideas to decrease your chances of getting sick or to help speed your recovery if you do. It is important to understand the differences between a common cold and the flu virus. If you have a fever and cough with body aches and chills, this is likely the flu. If you have flu symptoms, you should see your primary care provider as soon as possible! There are anti-viral medications that, if taken early on, can help to decrease the severity and duration of the flu! If you wait too long, these medications are not as likely to help. Don't wait, know the symptoms and feel better fast!

Happy (and Healthy) Holidays from Kuna Healthcare and Jodie Harrington! :-)

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