February 17, 2022 9:55 am
It’s Flu Season—How Can You Stay Healthy?
Flu season is here and knowing how to protect your family is important. Taking the proper precautions can help you stay engaged with life during this time of year.
Why Is Winter Considered Flu Season?
The fall and winter months are commonly referenced as flu season because that’s when many flu cases are diagnosed. Each year, the season ranges from October through March or April, though it can sometimes last until May. Peak activity tends to be December through February.
Other Winter Illnesses to Watch For
In addition to flu, other infectious conditions spread more rapidly during the winter and early spring because we spend more time indoors. Also, the mucus that typically transfers germs out of your body typically thickens during this time of year, making the mucus more difficult to move out of the body.
Along with the flu, other contagious illnesses common during the winter include:
- The common cold. If you pick up a cold, you’ll likely experience symptoms such as a stuffy or runny nose, a cough, frequent sneezing and irritated eyes.
- Respiratory syncytial virus. Commonly known as RSV, this virus causes symptoms like those of a cold. RSV is very common in young children and can cause more complications in this age group than it does in older adults.
- This infection causes inflammation of the bronchial tubes, resulting in a cough, excess mucus production, fatigue and shortness of breath. In most cases, it’s caused by a virus, but it can also be bacterial.
- This infection also causes inflammation, but it affects the air sacs in the lungs, causing a cough, fever, shortness of breath and fatigue. Like bronchitis, pneumonia can be caused by either a virus or bacteria.
- Unlike the other winter viruses we’ve mentioned, the norovirus affects the gastrointestinal system, causing nausea and vomiting. It is very common in kids and spreads from person to person.
How to Stay Healthy This Winter
You can take several steps to limit the spread of winter illnesses, including:
- Wash your hands frequently. Use soap and water, and scrub all areas of your hands, including under the nails, for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water aren’t handy, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Do not touch your face with unwashed hands. Illnesses spread easily from unwashed hands into the body through the mouth, eyes and nose.
- Get your flu vaccine and COVID-19 vaccine or booster, as recommended by your healthcare provider.
- If you’re comfortable doing so, continue wearing a mask when out in public. This not only helps limit the spread of COVID-19, but it can also minimize the spread of other contagious illnesses.
If you’re feeling under the weather with cold-like symptoms, talk to your medical provider.
A primary care provider can help you stay healthy during flu season. Make an appointment today.
This post was written by Magnolia Regional Health Center