Winter's arrival coincides with the arrival of other things as well. The holiday season. Snow days from school. Weekends spent skiing and snowboarding with family and friends.
While each of those things is something to look forward to, one thing also synonymous with winter is never welcomed with open arms. Cold and flu season impacts nearly every household each winter, forcing kids and adults alike to put life on hold as they rest and recover. To many people, flu shots are enough to keep them going strong through cold and flu season, but not everyone has access to flu shots. Even those who do might still get colds if they don't take steps to stay healthy when the mercury drops. This winter, people wanting to avoid the worst of cold and flu season can take several precautions to reduce their risks of getting a cold or the flu.
Around the House
People can take several steps to make their homes safer and warmer, which should help them reduce their risk of cold and flu. Winterizing a home is perhaps the best thing a homeowner can do to make a home safer and warmer. Install storm windows and caulk around doors and windows to keep warm air in the home and prevent cold air from coming in.
If winter has yet to arrive, inspect the heating system. If winter has already arrived, schedule an inspection as soon as possible. Make sure the system is working properly and is clean and ready for the winter that lies ahead. Ideally, the heating system should be serviced by a professional to ensure the ventilation is working properly.
Homeowners with functioning fireplaces in their homes should have the fireplace inspected and cleaned before using it for the first time.
Winter weather should never catch adults or children offguard with regards to their wardrobe. Once cold weather arrives, dress appropriately whenever leaving the home to reduce the risk of cold and flu. Appropriate attire includes wearing outdoor clothing, such as winter coats, scarves, gloves or mittens, and wool ski hats. Those who live in areas with heavy snowfall should also wear waterproof boots whenever going outside. It's also important to dress in layers throughout the winter. Doing so provides extra insulation, and layers trap air effectively, ensuring that all that warm air produced by your body won't escape but will stick around and keep you warm.
Prepare for Emergencies
If a winter weather emergency arrives, cold and flu won't shut down and stop working just because schools close or power outages occur. In fact, during an emergency the chances are strong that families will be stuck inside for extended periods of time. When locked indoors for long periods of time, cold and flu viruses can spread easily. Men and women should prepare for such a scenario by having an air filter on hand to ensure air quality remains clean and healthy. In addition, stock up on items such as soup or cold and cough medicine to ensure that anyone who succumbs to cold and flu during a weather emergency will have remedies at their disposal should they be confined to the home.
Parents of infant children should keep extra formula and diapers on hand and be sure there are extra batteries around the house should the power go out. For infants on medication, consult the child's physician before cold and flu season and devise a plan of caring for a sick child should a weather emergency occur.
Get Outside and Exercise
Staying indoors all winter might seem like a great way to avoid cold and flu, but it might actually make adults and children more susceptible. Staying indoors could be trapping you indoors with stagnant air where cold and flu germs are floating around. Stay inside during weather emergencies, but be sure to get outside in the fresh air and exercise when the weather allows. Regularly working out boosts the body's immune system, which helps ward off cold and flu.