The changing weather and the prevalence of viruses during this fall and wintertime means you need to prioritize your family's well-being. We here at South Plains Rural Health Services want to help you understand how you can help prevent illness from striking you or your loved ones this season.
Our team recommends these five essential steps to keep your family healthy during this challenging season.
1. Get vaccinated
The flu has caused between 9 million and 41 million illnesses, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. One of the most effective ways to protect your family from the flu is to get vaccinated. Influenza vaccines are updated annually to target the most prevalent strains, making them a vital tool in reducing the risk of infection.
Vaccination not only protects those who receive the shot but also helps prevent the spread of the virus to others. Consult with us to ensure that everyone in your family who is eligible receives their flu shot. It's an easy step that can make a marked difference.
2. Promote good hand hygiene
Proper handwashing is fundamental in defending yourself against colds and the flu. Teach your family members, especially children, the importance of washing their hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
Encourage them to scrub their hands thoroughly, including under their nails and between their fingers. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Remind your family to avoid touching their face, especially their eyes, nose, and mouth, as this is a common way germs can enter the body.
3. Maintain a healthy lifestyle
A strong immune system is your body's first line of defense against illnesses like the cold and flu. Encourage your family to maintain a healthy lifestyle by eating a balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables, getting regular exercise, and ensuring they get enough sleep.
A well-balanced diet provides the necessary nutrients and antioxidants to support the immune system, while exercise and sleep help the body recover and stay resilient. Adequate hydration is also crucial, so make sure your family drinks plenty of water throughout the day.
4. Sneeze and sniffle responsibly
Respiratory etiquette plays a vital role in preventing the spread of colds and the flu. Teach your family members, particularly kids, to cover their mouth and nose with a tissue or their elbow when they cough or sneeze.
Dispose of used tissues properly and wash hands immediately afterward. If someone in your family is sick, consider using a mask to reduce the risk of spreading the virus to others. Good respiratory hygiene is a small but effective step in keeping your family healthy.
5. Stay informed
Stay informed about the latest developments in your community regarding cold and flu outbreaks. Be aware when people in your circle of work or school are ill.
If your family members exhibit symptoms such as fever, cough, sore throat, or body aches, seek medical advice promptly. We can provide guidance on whether further testing or treatment is necessary. Remember, early intervention can make a significant difference in recovery and preventing the spread of illness to others.
This cold and flu season, take proactive steps to keep your family healthy and reduce the risk of illness. We can help you. Call us at South Plains Rural Health today, or use our online scheduling tool to book your appointment. We offer vaccinations and symptom management for when illness does occur.