Our daily routines are full of choices, some important and some trivial. There is an important decision you should take into account, especially during the winter–evaluating if you’re in danger of spreading an illness or not. The common cold, flu, and other similar illnesses can hit you out of nowhere, sometimes really wreaking havoc on your social or work life. It’s important to know when it’s ok to go out and when you should stay home.
What Are Your Symptoms?
If it’s just a minor cough, sore throat, or a stuffy nose, you’re probably free to go to work or attend necessary social engagements. It would be next to impossible to stay home every time you have a simple case of the sniffles. If you’re experiencing these symptoms at a higher degree and they’re accompanied by body aches, fever, vomiting, or diarrhea, you should stay home and rest. These severe symptoms are usually indicative of something more than just a regular cold or seasonal allergies.
What Are The Causes Of These Common Illnesses?
These illnesses are viral, meaning there isn’t much you can do besides manage the symptoms and wait for the virus to run its course. Unfortunately, you may be contagious before you even begin to show symptoms, so it can be challenging to stay home for the entirety of an illness. In addition to being contagious before the symptoms start, germs also easily spread by saliva. This saliva can spread in many ways, whether it’s from direct particles from a sneeze or a cough or through frequently used objects like door handles, common property in offices, or computers and keyboards. Symptoms that stay too long or increase in severity may indicate that a secondary infection has settled in and should be seen by a doctor.
What Are My Best Defenses To Staying Healthy During The Winter?
Your first line of defense is getting an annual flu shot, which can help protect you from contracting the flu. Even if you do get the flu, having received the vaccine can lessen your overall symptoms and the duration of the illness. It’s important to get a vaccine every year, as the virus changes and the updated shot is tailored to what the research shows the most common strains of the flu will be during the current season. Ideally, you should receive this vaccine before flu season starts, as it takes two weeks for immunity to build up. We tend to see flu activity increase in October or November, with activity peaking between December and February, and the season sometimes reaching all the way through May.
In addition to receiving the flu shot, you should be diligent with keeping yourself and your surroundings clean. Wash your hands often with hot water and soap, sneeze or cough into your elbow instead of your hands, and disinfect surfaces in your home and office frequently. You should always stay home while you’re feeling ill, and when possible, remain home for 24 hours after these symptoms pass. And this isn’t just for you. It’s also important to remember to keep kids home from school or daycare when they are sick. Additionally, you should do your best to remain healthy in the winter, as you should all year. Keep up with exercise routines and eat a healthy diet, even though it can be tempting to break that at holiday gatherings. If you haven’t come in for a wellness exam at a TrustCare Express Medical Clinic, find the closest location to you and contact us to schedule an exam. We can also see patients for all manner of walk-in urgent care needs.