From Dr. Melissa Prest
The holiday season, one filled with cheer, family, friends, and gatherings. As festive as the season is, some guests should not be invited to the party. Those guests are the viruses that cause colds and flu. They have been making an early appearance this year letting everyone know that they want to be a part of this joyous season. People with certain conditions like chronic kidney disease are at high risk for more serious complications from colds and flu. It is best to take a proactive approach when dealing with these viruses.
Get vaccinated to protect yourself
While getting vaccinated will not prevent you from getting sick, vaccines are effective are lowering your risk of hospitalization, serious complications, and death. Flu vaccines are available now at your provider’s office and at your local pharmacies. If you have not already received your vaccine, schedule your appointment today.
Wash your hands frequently
Colds and flu spread by droplets from sneezing, coughing, and talking. If you touch a surface that has been contaminated by these droplets and then touch your mouth, nose, or eyes you are putting yourself at risk of getting sick. Handwashing has been found to be an effective defense against these viruses time and time again.
Wear a mask in high-risk areas and activities
With exposure through droplets, wearing a mask is another defensive measure you can take to prevent illness. If you are going to be in an area with a lot of people congregated together wearing a mask is a good way to offer you some protection. Likewise, if you are feeling ill wearing a mask helps you protect others from encountering any virus you may be fighting.
Get enough sleep
Our bodies recover and repair during sleep. Getting too little sleep limits your ability to fight the invading virus. Make sure you get 7-9 hours of sleep. If you are sick make sure to rest longer, take a nap if you are feeling tired, go to bed earlier, and wake up a little later.
Eat right to fuel your immune system
Fruits and vegetables are packed with nutrients that our body needs to properly fuel the immune system to do its work. Try to get some fruit at each meal and 2 servings of vegetables at lunch and dinner. Protein foods have high amounts of zinc. Get some protein with each meal and snack. Vitamin C may help lessen the severity and length of a cold once you have symptoms. Citrus fruits, bell peppers, potatoes, and dark green leafy vegetables are just a few foods that can help you eat more vitamin C.
If you feel sick, rest, and talk with your provider
While we want to keep going it is important to rest when our bodies need it. Rest helps us to recover, and we will have a longer course of illness if we fail to rest. Talk with your provider to make sure there is nothing else that you should be doing to protect yourself or care for yourself from colds and flu.