Holladay Health Corner: Flu season is coming…are you prepared?

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According to a recent article from U.S. News, health officials are predicting a severe flu season this year, and there's already been one reported pediatric death from the flu. Since the health of our associates and friends is important to everyone at Holladay, we wanted to share some advice for getting through the flu season.

Of course, the number one way to protect yourself is by getting the flu vaccine. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends nearly everyone over the age of 6 months get a flu vaccine each year. Getting a flu shot every season decreases your chances of getting the flu and can help lessen the severity of symptoms if you do contract the virus.

There are also several other preventative steps you can take to reduce the spread of viruses, including keeping your hands clean, coughing into your elbow rather than your hands, disinfecting common surfaces and staying hydrated. For details on these steps, check out a previous Holladay Health Corner post by Maureen Johnson, Cold and flu prevention tactics.

If you do get the flu or a similar virus, there are things you can do to ease symptoms like sore throat, cough and nasal congestion.

Sore Throat

  • Gargle with warm salt water – The Mayo Clinic recommends dissolving ¼ to ½ teaspoon of table salt in 4 to 8 ounces of warm water. Gargle for several seconds, then spit it out. This can be repeated multiple times throughout the day.
  • Warm and cold liquids and foods – Fluids help prevent dehydration. Warm liquids like caffeine-free tea (avoid caffeine and alcohol which can cause dehydration) or broth, and cold treats like popsicles can have a soothing effect and ease pain.
  • Try an herbal remedy – Honey, slippery elm, licorice root, and marshmallow root have all been purported to ease sore throats.

Cough

  • Drink lots of fluids – Staying hydrated thins mucus, making it less likely to cause irritation and easier to clear out. Also, according to WebMD, dehydration can make more mucus, so staying hydrated is key.
  • Drink hot tea – Some good options include chamomile and ginger tea.
  • Sleep on an incline – Get gravity on your side by avoiding laying flat, which can cause mucus to pool.

Nasal Congestion

  • Use a humidifier – Using a humidifier can ease multiple symptoms, including sore throat and cough, as well as nasal congestion, by opening airways and keeping nasal passages and the throat moist.
  • Try a warm compress – Healthline suggests applying a warm washcloth after blowing your nose to help ease congestion, relieve pain, and open nasal passages.
  • Take a shower – The steam from a shower, or hot water in your bathroom sink, will help think out mucus and reduce inflammation and provide a brief relief from nasal congestion

We hope you find this blog helpful in your quest to stay healthy and happy during the entire year, not just during flu season.

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