Cold and flu season is upon us, which means a lot of coughing, sneezing, and urgent care traffic. There are plenty of viruses spiraling around this time of year, many with overlapping symptoms, so it’s very important that you prepare yourself for optimal health by practicing prevention and being proactive.
Common colds that are left untreated can lead to more serious conditions like bronchitis or pneumonia. Namely, pneumonia can turn serious or even life threatening if it isn’t caught early enough. Pneumonia symptoms include chest pain, shortness of breath, cough, fatigue, fever, and nausea. There are many things you can do to mitigate your risks of developing pneumonia.
Below we will discuss how prevention methods like personal hygiene, lifestyle choices, and self quarantining (when necessary) can help you and those around you stay healthy this season. We also know that while preventative measures significantly decrease your chances of getting sick, they aren’t 100%. So, we will also give you tips on how to be a proactive player in your health and wellness by self-treating your viral infections at home so you can recover quickly and completely.
Prevention is your best line of defense against viral infections. Practicing good hygiene is scientifically proven to be your biggest ally in preventing infection. Specifically, the two most powerful preventative measures you can take to safeguard your health and the health of those around you are regular hand washing and properly covering a cough or sneeze. It seems easy enough, but there are proper techniques to performing these seemingly basic tasks.
Washing your hands is essential in preventing illnesses and spreading infection. According to the Center for Disease Control, proper hand washing involves the following steps: Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap. Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails. Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Rinse.
Another effective way to prevent the spread of germs is by properly covering a cough or sneeze. Since many viral infections are spread via airborne droplets, employing the right technique to cover your mouth will mitigate risks of spreading infection. Using a tissue, and then promptly disposing of it and immediately washing your hands is highly effective. However, if you don’t have s tissue handy, the CDC recommends coughing or sneezing into the inside of your elbow, in the crook of your arm.
Making healthy lifestyle choices will also help prevent illness. Research shows that eating a healthy diet full of essential nutrients will keep your immune system functioning at the optimal level, which we know helps your body fight infection. Also, getting regular exercise and limiting alcohol consumption have both been linked to increased immunity.
If you feel a little under the weather or unusually tired, those are signs that you might be coming down with a viral infection. While grueling work schedules and busy social calendars might make it tough, choosing to self-quarantine for a few days is a good preventative measure. If you are contagious, you will have shielded many people from getting sick who you would have otherwise come in contact with and out at risk.
Take A Proactive Approach
If you do end up contracting a viral infection like the common cold or the flu, there are ways you can take care of yourself at home that will help speed up recovery time and protect your illness from worsening or turning into a more serious illness. A common cold can turn deadly if it is left untreated. This is why it’s important to seek the expertise of a medical provider who can instruct you on how to properly care for yourself at home. They will also monitor you and take a proactive approach through physical exams, chest X-rays, and follow up visits to make sure your illness is under control so that you are unlikely to experience any symptoms of pneumonia.
BASS Medical Group
At BASS Medical Group, we can partner with you to take control of your health. We are dedicated to providing you with high level urgent care to effectively and accurately diagnose your illness so you can get back to better health quickly and seamlessly. Our facilities and physicians are here with resources to create a healthier community.