Welcome to Healthy Living, a new collaboration between the Seattle Chinese Times and Public Health – Seattle & King County! We’ll provide regular information and tips on how you and your family can stay healthy, and explore health issues in the local Chinese community. If you have questions you would like health experts to answer, please send them to the Seattle Chinese Times.

Welcome to Healthy Living, a new collaboration between the Seattle Chinese Times and Public Health – Seattle & King County! We’ll provide regular information and tips on how you and your family can stay healthy, and explore health issues in the local Chinese community. If you have questions you would like health experts to answer, please send them to the Seattle Chinese Times (info@seattlechinesetimes.com).

Staying Well During Cold and Flu Season

By Jeffrey S. Duchin, MD, Chief of Communicable Disease Epidemiology & Immunization Section , Public Health – Seattle & King County

Have you ever noticed how many people come down with colds once the kids go back to school in the fall? Not only are the kids giving each other their colds and passing them on to others, but the flu can also show up in the fall. Fortunately, there are a number of things you can do to help avoid getting sick.

It sounds almost too simple, but one of the best ways is to wash your hands frequently with soap and water or use hand sanitizer. Why? Imagine that someone with a cold wipes her nose with a tissue and gets some of the germs on her hand. Then she opens a door with the same hand, and turns on a light switch. Later, you might touch that same door knob and light switch.  Now those same germs are on your hands. Washing cleans those germs off your hands before they make you sick.  Also avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth because that’s how germs can get into your body.

Just as you don’t want others to make you sick, there are important things you can do to keep from spreading cold and flu germs to others.  If you are sick, stay home and cover your coughs and sneezes with your sleeve to prevent cold and flu germs from spreading to others.  If you have a fever, wait until your fever has been gone for 24 hours before going back to work or school.

If you want to avoid getting the flu, a flu vaccine is your best protection.  Flu can be miserable and it can make you too sick and fatigued to go to work or school, or to participate in other activities. The flu can be more dangerous for some, like adults over 65, children younger than 5, pregnant women, and those with chronic health conditions, such as asthma, heart disease, or diabetes. These groups are at higher risk for hospitalization or serious complications, including pneumonia, so it’s particularly important for them to get a flu vaccine.

Flu vaccine comes as either an injection or a nasal spray. Both can protect you from the flu over the whole flu season, which can last into the spring.  They also have a very good safety record. Like all medicines, flu vaccine may have minor side effects, such as soreness where you get a flu shot, mild headache, or muscle aches for a day or two. You cannot get the flu from a flu vaccine.  To get a flu vaccine, ask at your pharmacy, community health center, doctor, or other health care provider.

There are other simple steps you can take to stay healthy during flu and cold season. Practice good health habits. Get plenty of sleep and exercise, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat healthy food. Taking good care of yourself will help your body fight off colds better.

For more information about the flu:
http://www.kingcounty.gov/healthservices/health/communicable/diseases/Influenza-Chinese.aspx

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