Even though December is celebrated as, “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” it also kicks off cold and flu season, which as we all know, is less than wonderful. The sneezing, body aches, runny noses, coughing, fever, and chills are not “the hap-happiest season of all.” However, with a little preparation, you can reduce your risk of getting sick, and make those times you are sick a little more comfortable. Here are a few tips and suggestions that can help you survive cold and flu season, and “be of good cheer.”

Reduce your risk of catching a cold or flu

1.  Get a Flu Shot
One of the best things you can do to prepare for flu season is to get a flu shot.  Recent studies have shown that the flu vaccine reduces the risk of getting the flu by 50%-60%.  A flu shot is recommended for everyone 6 months and older.  The flu shot won’t protect you from the common cold, but it is a good start in reducing your risk of getting sick this year.You may think, “It’s December, I’m too late,” but influenza activity peaks in January, so it is still worthwhile to get your flu shot today.  All of the Premier Family Medical offices are still offering flu shots, so stop by one of our locations and get yours today.2. Hand Sanitizers
Enhance your prevention measures further by stocking up on hand sanitizer.  It is important that you constantly sanitize your hands throughout the season to kill potential germs and prevent them from spreading to others.

3. Antibacterial Cleansers
Cleaning your living space and work space should take a greater propriety during cold and flu season. Use antibacterial cleansers to keep your home and office free from the flu virus and germs during the cold and flu season.

Be Prepared If You Do Get Sick

Sometimes all the prevention efforts are still not enough to keep you from getting sick.  If that happens, the best thing you can do is to be prepared with supplies at your home to help you feel better.  The last thing you’ll want to do if you get sick is run to the store to pick up medicine or chicken noodle soup.

1. Medicines
It’s important to note that flu and the common cold are viruses and can not be treated with an antibiotic.  Most over the counter medicines you buy treat the symptoms of a cold or flu to help you feel comfortable and allow your body to fight the virus.  Over the count medications should only be used as directed and if you have questions about which medications you should take, please talk to your doctor.  Our providers are happy to help answer your questions.  Here is a list of common over the counter medications you should have on hand in your medicine cabinet to help you feel better when you get sick. (Generic versions for medications are available.  We reference to brand names as they are more commonly referred to)

  • Pain Relievers/Fever Reducer (Advil or Tylenol)
  • Decongestants (Sudafed)
  • Antihistamine (Dimetapp)
  • Cough Syrup (Robitussin)
  • Cough Drops
  • Multi-Symptom Cold and Flu (NyQuil and DayQuil or Theraflu)
  • Expectorant (Mucinex)
  • Menthol Rub

2. Thermometer
You might also need to invest in a working thermometer to keep checking on the severity of fever on you and your children. If the fever is very severe, you will have to seek the assistant of a physician.

3. Tissues

If you have a cold or the flu you are going to be reaching for a tissue often.  It’s good to stock up on tissues during cold and flu season so you have something soft to blow your nose with.

4. Comfort Foods and Drinks
Sometimes the only thing that sounds good to eat or drink when you are sick is a bowl of chicken noodle soup or a glass of orange juice.  Whatever your comfort food or drink is when you get sick, stock up now so that you don’t have to send a family member to the store when you aren’t feeling well.

5. Entertainment
During cold and flu season, you will probably spend a lot of time in bed or on the couch.  Your body needs to rest, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy yourself a little.  You can make the most of getting sick by catching up on your favorite shows, binge watching something new, or have a movie marathon of your favorite trilogy.

Download our Cold and Flu Survival Guide