Winter season has officially started in Texas, which means cooler months ahead. During this time, it is also known to be cold and flu season. Symptoms that can occur include: runny nose, sneezing, coughing, fever, chills and body aches. It is important to take care of ourselves and keep our immune system healthy. There are many things we all can do to help prevent catching a cold or the flu.
With the COVID-19 pandemic still in effect and high numbers increasing during these unforeseen times, it is a good indicator for us to stay as healthy as possible by doing these things:
Continue to wash your hands more often, especially during this winter. Any time you might touch your face, or after pumping gas or touching doorknobs, grocery shopping, taking out the trash, walking your dog, playing with your children, etc. — when in doubt, wash your hands. If you are unable to wash your hands at that moment, be sure to keep hand sanitizer on deck until you can wash your hands with soap and water.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that every person 6 months and older get the flu vaccine every year. This can help prevent getting the flu and protect you and your family. However, it is best to get the vaccine prior to flu season — preferably by October since flu season begins in November.
If you are unable to get the flu shot, you still can take necessary steps and precautions such as avoiding people who are sick and covering your coughs and sneezes. Another idea is to take Vitamin C or elderberry for your immune system. This is extremely important during this time of year and can be quite beneficial to you.
My final suggestion to help prevent getting the flu or any other illness is to sanitize as much as possible. Sanitizing is key! Keeping your house clean as well as our bodies is a major component during cold and flu season. Wiping down countertops, taking off dirty clothes, cleaning office desks, doors and anything you touch daily is a great way to stay clean and free of sickness. This could be included in your daily routine, and allowing your children to join in is a fun way to promote healthy living.
With cold and flu season being more severe particularly this year, it is crucial to practice safety measures and the tips mentioned above. Regularly washing your hands and sanitizing frequently touched items can help reduce your risk of contracting a cold or the flu. Remember to take care of yourselves and your loved ones this season and be proactive in taking the essential steps to living a healthy lifestyle.
JESSICA SMALL is the Better Living for Texans agent with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension in Denton County. Email her at [email protected] or call 940-349-2891.