How to protect yourself during cold and flu season

Published: Sep. 19, 2023 at 5:11 PM EDT
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BLUEFIELD, W.Va. (WVVA) - As the chill in the air builds over the weeks and months ahead, people will find themselves in more positions that will compromise social distancing. People will gather around others and the surfaces they’ve touched with a lot more frequency.

Public health care leaders in the Two Virginias say there are some defenses to reduce your chances of getting sick. Vaccination tops their list.

“One of the best things you can do is get a flu shot. Usually you get that annually and a lot of people get that so that’s what they’re used to doing. If for some reason you can’t get it, wash your hands a lot. If you go outside or come back in if that’s possible. Also if possible you might want to stay away from large crowds if you’re concerned about getting sick,” said McDowell County Health Department Administrator, J.J. Rose.

Rose says people should also plan a COVID vaccination because the updated coronavirus vaccine will be available soon. An infection prevention expert says our hands are the number one way disease is spread.

It means hand sanitizer is essential in those instances where you can’t wash your hands. But if you do come down with a cold, the flu, and especially COVID, you need to stay home and get adequate rest.

“Based on your symptoms, do you have a fever? Then you want to take something for a fever. Do you have a cough, then you’d want to take something for a cough. Some things decrease sinus congestion so those types of things. You’re going to want to buy whatever over the counter that says it will work for that particular thing, and again staying hydrated,” said Director of Infection Control at Clinch Valley Health, Connie Radcliff.

Radcliff says sanitizing surfaces like door knobs and light switches is another good line of defense at home. In public however, she says a mask is another good way to you can help protect yourself.

If you want to get a flu or COVID vaccine, you should reach out to your local health department to schedule an appointment.