Although it’s possible to develop a cold or influenza (the flu) at any time of the year, cases tend to rise during cold and flu season, which usually begins in October and lasts until April or May, peaking from December through February. Being sick with a cold or the flu can be miserable, so as this season approaches, one of your top concerns is likely cold and flu prevention. For this, you can rely on PhysicianOne Urgent Care—we want to keep you as healthy as possible, so we’ve compiled some helpful tips on how to stay healthy during cold and flu season.
What Causes Colds & the Flu?
Before delving into cold and flu precautions and how to not get sick, it may be helpful to explain exactly how someone develops each of these illnesses. The common cold and the flu are both viral infections affecting the respiratory system. The common cold can be caused by numerous different viruses—most commonly rhinoviruses—while the flu is caused by influenza viruses.
In both cases, the viruses are spread through droplets expelled when an infected person sneezes, coughs, or talks. If you’re standing close to someone who’s sick, you may inhale these droplets while they’re still airborne. Or, you could pick them up once they’ve settled onto an object—for example, a doorknob or countertop—then transfer them to yourself when you touch your eyes, nose, or mouth.
How to Prevent Colds & the Flu
Now that you know what causes these illnesses, the next step will be learning how to stop a cold or the flu before it starts. Consider the following recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
- Avoid close contact with symptomatic individuals.
- Regularly wash your hands (or, if soap and water aren’t available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer).
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces, especially if someone around you is sick.
- Lead an overall healthy lifestyle (for example, eat a nutritious diet, drink plenty of water, exercise regularly, get enough sleep, and keep your stress levels down).
With regard to flu prevention, it’s a smart idea to get vaccinated each year. Flu shots are designed to help protect against the influenza viruses that are predicted to be most common that season. By getting your flu shot—which we offer at PhysicianOne Urgent Care—you can help lower your chances of developing the flu and experiencing any complications of the illness.
What to Do if You Get Sick
We’ve given you advice on how to stay healthy during cold and flu season, but what if you do fall ill? Luckily, if you’re in many areas of Connecticut, Massachusetts, or New York, you can entrust your care to the professionals at PhysicianOne Urgent Care. Our team offers first-rate evaluation for cold and flu symptoms, and we’ll do whatever we can to help you start feeling better as quickly as possible.
Click here to find out if PhysicianOne Urgent Care has an immediate care center near you. We’re open 365 days per year with extended hours, and we proudly offer walk-in treatment, pre-booked appointments, and 24/7 Virtual Visits.