Q: How can I prepare for the cold and flu season?
A: It is now fall and soon to be winter, and this means the dreaded sniffling, runny nose, sneezing and coughing season is amongst us. Whether you are an executive, teacher, plumber or physician, we all have a likelihood of being exposed to some form of viral illness that can make us feel down in the dumps. I want to discuss a few things we can all do to best prepare ourselves.
Hand-washing is one of the most effective ways of preventing spread of illness. The CDC recommends using either hot or cold water, lathering well with soap, scrubbing for at least 20 seconds (hum the "Happy Birthday" song twice), rinsing well and drying with a clean towel or air drying.
Keep your hands away from your face, specifically your eyes, nose and mouth.
Disinfect your home regularly, especially if you or someone in the same household has been ill or has been exposed to someone who is ill.
Consider having the recommended annual influenza vaccine, which can not only keep you from getting sick with the flu, but can also protect people around you such as children and people with chronic health conditions.
Maintain a healthy lifestyle by choosing health foods, getting adequate sleep, exercising regularly and hydrating with water to keep your body functioning optimally.
Just in case you do come down with a cold or the flu, be sure to have some medical supplies for monitoring and treating your symptoms such as a thermometer, over-the-counter fever and pain reducers and maybe mom's chicken noodle soup recipe. If symptoms worsen or you have concern, see your local primary-care physician.
— Dr. Justin A. Ossman, UT Erlanger Primary Care East; member, Chattanooga-Hamilton County Medical Society