Five Ways to Keep You and Your Family Safe This Winter

When we think of winter what comes to mind are cozy fluffy blankets, hot chocolate near the fire place, and of course the joyous holiday season.

Unfortunately, winter time is also the season of colds, flus, and trips to urgent care or the emergency room. The good news is there are ways to safeguard you and your family from potentially dangerous viruses and bacteria this winter. Here are five ways to help keep everyone in your family protected from germs that may be lurking in your home.

1) Wash Your Hands

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) highlights that handwashing is one of the easiest and most effective ways to avoid getting sick. Those brief 20 seconds of thoroughly washing our hands with soap and water helps to reduce germs and prevent their spread. If you cannot get to a sink, your next best bet is hand sanitizer. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers are also great way to reduce germs from hands, but keep in mind that they cannot replace a good hand washing session. Soap and water will always be more effective than hand sanitizer, so if you can, choose handwashing instead.

2) Clean and Disinfect Household Surfaces

Germs can live and thrive off surfaces in your home and can eventually make it into your body. By cleaning and disinfecting the most commonly used surfaces, you can help reduce those germs and contaminants that can potentially cause illnesses to those in your home.

Use appropriate cleaning products (wipes, sprays etc.) to clean and disinfect common heavy traffic surfaces in your home such as:

· Kitchen and bathroom counters

· Door knobs and handles

· Staircase railings

· Light switches

· Remote controls

· Toilet bowl handles and seats

· Faucets

· Cell phones and other mobile devices

· Remote controls

Here is a resource for more information on how to properly clean and germ-proof your home.

3) Make Your Health a Priority

Prioritizing your overall health is the foundation of building a healthy immune system. Your immune system is remarkable in protecting you against disease causing microorganisms. However, in order for your immune system to function at its best it requires a healthy body which can be achieved through diet, exercise, stress reduction and adequate sleep. Being overweight, smoking, not getting enough sleep, and experiencing excessive stress can lower immune function, which can leave you particularly vulnerable to sickness. So, take care of your health and body to keep your immune system in optimal condition.

4) Keep up to date with vaccines

Getting the appropriate, recommended immunizations can help protect us from potentially dangerous illnesses such as the flu, pneumonia, and now COVID-19. Talk to your healthcare provider to find out if you meet the criteria for certain vaccines in order to protect yourself as well as protecting others from getting ill.

5) See a Healthcare Provider If Needed

Most of the time colds and flus go away on their own after about 1-2 weeks. At home treatments such as rest, fluids, over-the-counter cough medicine/fever reducers are more than enough to provide symptom relief for time being. However, if symptoms are getting significantly worse such as shortness of breath, a fever that won’t budge despite taking fever reducers, or symptoms lasting longer than 10-14 days it might be time to see a healthcare provider. It may be best at this point to go to an urgent care center for treatment to prevent complications.

At Restored Health, we offer Telehealth visits for cough and colds if you feel the need to see someone in the comfort of your own home. While there may be a possibility that a trip to urgent care may be required based on severity of symptoms, most of the time they can be safely treated via a telehealth visit.

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