It’s that time of year again. From minor colds to severe flus and fevers, seasonal sicknesses are unpredictable and can sneak up on your family at any time.
Unfortunately, even the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cannot predict the timing, severity and length of a seasonal virus. Luckily, there are steps you can take to ward off illness and better monitor symptoms when you’re sick.
Check in with Your Doctor
Make an appointment with your primary care physician to get a look at the family’s vitals. These are good indicators of overall wellness. Plus, it’s a great time to schedule that annual flu shot, if you haven’t already done so.
If you’re pregnant, have kids or are a caregiver to elderly parents, it’s an even better idea to get vaccinated, as these are the most at-risk groups for complications from the flu. If you don’t have time to schedule a full exam, many pharmacies like CVS offer quick, in-store vaccinations.
Practice Healthy Living
Maintain a healthy lifestyle. Get enough sleep, eat the right foods to ensure proper nutrition, drink plenty of water and exercise regularly. Avoid close contact with sick people, and maintain a safe distance from others when you are sick. If necessary, stay home from work or school to keep your germs from spreading.
Cover your mouth and nose with a sleeve or tissue when coughing or sneezing. Sanitize doorknobs, light switches and work areas with germ-killing soap. Also, don’t forget to wash your hands or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer throughout the day to combat contamination.
Keep Your Cool
Even the best preparation can leave your family susceptible to cold and flu. Fever and chills could be a sign you’re getting sick. Remember, a fever isn’t always a bad thing. It means your body is working hard to fight off infection. But for parents of small children, putting feverish kids to bed at night can still be unnerving.
New technology can help you rest at night. For example, TempTraq, available at Amazon.com, is a Bluetooth wearable temperature monitor in the form of a soft, comfortable patch. It records your child’s temperature every 10 seconds for 24 hours, sending the data to your smartphone via a free, downloadable app. You can view real-time data or receive alerts when your child reaches a user-set “red zone” level.
“A 24-hour temperature monitor that continuously records a child’s temperature readings could alleviate many parent’s concerns when caring for a sick child,” says Aris Eliades, director of Nursing research, Akron Children’s Hospital. “The child can rest, the parent can be alerted if anything changes, and we as nurses and physicians get needed information to make better decisions for patients.”
Find yourself with a stubborn fever? Adults can use it too. Consider keeping TempTraq in your medicine cabinet for unexpected fevers all season long.
Take proactive steps for a healthy household. And, when all else fails, grab a hot cup of tea with honey and lemon, a warm blanket and a good movie.