Although we don't want to admit summer is coming to a close, fall is just around the corner. So as we switch gears and head into fall, it's important to take care of our health.
During the fall and winter seasons, the common cold and influenza (also known as the flu) become more common. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention states cases of the cold and the flu typically begin around October, peak around December and January, and last until May. However, the CDC also states cases of the cold and flu can happen outside of this seasonal time frame.
Why Should You Care?
Being sick is no fun for anyone, and it doesn't feel great. You can end up missing work, as well as exciting plans you may have made. You can also risk getting others sick, too. On average, adults catch a cold around two to three times a year -- and each cold can last up to ten days. And sometimes, colds can develop into something more serious, like pneumonia.
How to Avoid Getting Sick
1. Wash your hands.
You should do this all the time, but make sure you're routinely doing this during cold and flu season. Use soap and water, and scrub for twenty seconds before rinsing. If you don't have soap, use hand sanitizer. Viruses that cause colds can live on your hands, so make sure you wash them.
2. Don't touch your mouth, eyes, or nose with unwashed hands.
As mentioned above, viruses and bacteria can live on your hands. When you touch your face with unwashed hands, you risk spreading that virus or bacteria into your body. And, surprise, you'll get sick.
3. Avoid people who are sick.
Sometimes this is hard, especially if you live or work with someone who is sick. Do your best to avoid people who are sick, so you don't catch their cold or flu. If you want, you can wear a face mask to avoid getting sick.
4. Get a flu shot.
Getting a flu shot can protect you from catching the flu. Flu vaccines typically protect against three or four different viruses. Sometimes the vaccine doesn't protect against all viruses, but it can still prevent some flu illnesses, medical visits and hospitalizations. The CDC recommends everyone get a flu shot once a year, before flu season begins.
5. Stay hydrated.
Drinking a lot of fluid can keep your immune system strong, prevent dehydration, and can fight against harmful bacteria and viruses. Even though the hot weather may be gone, it doesn't mean your body needs less water.
6. Get enough rest.
It's hard not to watch the entire new season of that show you love in one night, but getting eight hours of uninterrupted sleep may be better for you in the long run. Getting enough sleep at night should be a year-round goal, but with daylight savings around the corner, it's important to make sure you're getting your eight hours of rest.
Information for this blog was derived from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.