Find tips to prepare and prevent the most common fall and winter illnesses.
Respiratory illnesses can strike year-round but are typically more prevalent during the fall and winter months due to more time spent indoors and out of the cold weather, and the cold, dry air weakening the immune system to be more susceptible to germs. Learn how to prepare for the most common fall and winter illnesses now, so you can prevent sickness in the seasons to come.
As we enter the fall season, it seems like there is always something going around. In the workplace, at school, or even in the comfort of your home, all you hear is coughing, sneezing, and sniffles. By the end of the 2022-2023 flu and cold season, the CDC reported between 27-54 million flu-like illnesses diagnosed.
There are some things you can do to protect yourself and others from getting sick this virus season.
Tips to Prepare For The Most Common Fall and Winter Illnesses
Here are some tips to keep in mind to prepare for preventing the most common fall and winter illnesses and keep you and your loved ones healthy and enjoying the holiday season.
1. Make sure you are washing your hands thoroughly.
Germs can live on the surface for days or even weeks. To minimize the spread of germs from direct contact, it is important to keep your hands clean. To ensure your hands are washed thoroughly, it is recommended to rinse for at least 20 seconds using warm water and soap. Also, washing around cuticles, beneath fingernails, and in the creases of your hands should be included in proper handwashing. It is recommended to use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
2. Cough and sneeze properly.
To avoid spreading germs through the air or by touch, when you sneeze or cough, it should be into a tissue or the center of your elbow.
3. Avoid large crowds.
School Christmas parties or family holiday dinners are a breeding ground for the spread of germs. As mentioned earlier, the immune system is weaker in the fall and winter seasons. Gathering with large crowds puts you at risk of contracting an illness.
4. Keep your home areas disinfected.
Ensure that the germs you come in contact with do not make it in your home to infect your household. Practice basic disinfection protocols to keep you and your loved one safe in the home. Also, don’t share utensils, glasses, or plates with others, use separate towels in the bathroom, and throw away toothbrushes after being sick.
5. Have an at home survival kit.
Be ready for a winter illness to strike in your home by having get-well essentials stocked. Ensure you are prepared with over-the-counter medication for the most common winter illness symptoms, drinks and food for wellness, and the necessary items to get better.
Despite your best efforts, you may still get sick this season. Sometimes it may be hard to distinguish without an expert medical opinion if your coughing and sneezing is a mild cold, something more serious like influenza, or even extremely contagious like RSV. Not knowing is what keeps the viruses spreading rapidly.
Fort Smith ER & Hospital is here for you all fall and winter season to help accurately and quickly diagnose your illness and provide the right treatment that gets you feeling better. Our advanced facility can distinguish and treat your infection in 15-minutes or less with our new MeMed ® BV Diagnostic Testing equipment. Enjoy this holiday season healthy with the help of our facility – open 24/7, even on holidays!
Happy holidays to you and your family from Fort Smith ER & Hospital!
Disclaimer: As a service to our readers, Fort Smith ER & Hospital and Nutex Health state no content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.