by David Lozano, Earned Media Senior Manager, Banner Health
Many see the holidays as a time to celebrate with friends and loved ones. Whether it’s enjoying turkey with all the trimmings, opening the presents under the tree, or lighting the menorah, this time of year is a year to reflect, give thanks and enjoy the company of people you truly cherish. It’s also the time to take extra precautions to avoid getting yourself or your loved ones sick.
That’s right, it’s cold and flu season 2018! Okay, maybe that’s not a reason to celebrate, because amongst all the eggnog and twinkling lights can also lurk those pesky cold and flu germs. During the holiday season last year, the flu hit the U.S. hard.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, both the cold and flu are similar in the sense that both are respiratory illnesses caused by different viruses. The common cold, however, is usually less severe than the flu, while both ailments can still mimic each other. With both the cold and flu, people may suffer from a runny nose and congestion. While a cold is usually milder in its symptoms, the flu can cause some serious and potentially deadly issues in some people.
At first, the flu may present itself like the common cold – runny nose and congestion. But with the flu, you may suffer from a series of other ailments you may not have with a cold, such as body aches, extreme fatigue, fever and chills. The cold is usually gradual, but the flu can be quick. Some people get over the flu just as quickly, but others could get even sicker, with some developing more serious problems such as pneumonia.
“Pneumonia can be a very serious, sometimes fatal lung infection in people, especially those with other underlying medical illnesses,” said Nik Doshi, DO, chief medical officer for Banner Casa Grande Medical Center. “We’re prepared to help everyone who comes to us if they think they have pneumonia. If you have a cold or the flu and you’re not getting better, go to your primary care doctor or Banner Urgent Care for help. If you are sick and experiencing symptoms like having trouble breathing or seizures, call 9-1-1 immediately because you may need to be brought to us for more intensive care.”
What can you do to prevent from getting a cold or the flu? For both, one of the most effective prevention methods is good old-fashioned hygiene. Some people go hours without washing or sanitizing their hands, and may end up touching their face including eyes, nose or mouth in the process. If you have access to a restroom with soap and water, or hand sanitizer, washing your hands is still one of the most effective ways to prevent these illnesses.
Another prevention method is covering your mouth in the crook of your arm during a cough or sneeze to prevent the spread of germs from one person to another. Getting vaccinated for the flu is also highly recommended. While flu shots are not 100-percent effective against the flu, medical experts agree that vaccination is still one of the best defenses when it comes to preventing the flu or helping people recover faster should they get the flu.
Dr. Doshi said, “The bottom line, the flu can be preventable for some people if they regularly practice good hygiene, and get a flu shot. It’s also important to note that people all year round should take care of their health to either prevent the flu or reduce the severity of it. This could include exercising regularly, eating nutritious foods, drinking plenty of fluids and getting enough sleep at night.”
For more information about the services provided at Banner Urgent Care, and to find a location near you, please visit www.BannerHealth.com/urgentcare. For more information about the services provided at Banner Casa Grande Medical Center, please visit www.BannerHealth.com/casagrande.