Father and daughter during virtual care visit for flu

‘Tis the Season To Prevent Winter Illness

December 21, 2022

It’s that time of year again – stores are packed, people are traveling and families are spending the holidays together. It’s a season of togetherness which means illnesses, such as the flu, COVID-19, and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), can spread just as quickly as holiday cheer.

Prevention 101

Minimize the risk for both yourself and your loved ones using these prevention tips:

  • Keep your hands to yourself and away from your face, nose and mouth
  • Cough and sneeze into a tissue; throw tissues directly in the trash and wash your hands after
  • Practice good hand washing hygiene; wash your hands after using the toilet, after touching pets, before and after eating and before and after caring for anyone sick at home
  • Regularly clean high-traffic surfaces, such as doorknobs, counters and children’s toys
  • If you or someone you know is sick, avoid close contact and opt to stay home
  • Limit the amount of time you spend in crowded spaces, like grocery stores, shopping malls
  • Wear a mask and bring hand sanitizer with you when you’re out and about
  • Keep an at-home COVID-19 test kit on hand and isolate if you test positive
  • Get your flu shot and stay up to date on your COVID-19 vaccines

Stop the Spread

Despite all efforts, sometimes it’s impossible to avoid getting sick. What you can do if you do get sick, however, is minimize the chance of passing your illness on to someone else.

Here’s how you can do your part if you are diagnosed with one of these illnesses:

Flu: If you come down with the flu, you’ll likely feel like staying home – and you should. Hydrate, get as much sleep as possible, eat well, and take over-the-counter medications as needed to manage pain, congestion and coughing.

COVID-19: Testing positive for COVID-19 means isolating to keep others safe. If there are others in your home, avoid sharing household items, like cups, towels and eating utensils and do your best to stay separated from them.

Norovirus: Dehydration is common in people with norovirus, so it’s essential to stay hydrated. Like the other illnesses listed, norovirus spreads quickly and easily which means you should avoid sharing personal items with other members of your household.

RSV: Though RSV is often mild for adults, it can cause serious harm to children and those with weakened immune systems. It can also lead to bronchiolitis and other respiratory issues. If you have RSV, you should rest, drink fluids and use over-the-counter medications to manage any fever or pain.

If you’re experiencing symptoms and have questions about next steps, get in touch with your health care provider or find a doctor through the Beth Israel Lahey Health website.