Posts Tagged ‘flu’

WINTER HEALTH 101, BY: HELEN HUNTER, ACSW, LSW

Tuesday, January 27th, 2015

soupHelen Hunter is a Social Worker and Geriatric Case Manager who often writes for Renaissance Magazine (NJFA’s online magazine for seniors, boomers and caregivers!) which you can view at http://www.njfoundationforaging.org/renaissance-magazine/

Here is a piece she has agreed to share with us on the blog, which is very appropriate for the season. Be sure to read to the end for a quick recipe.

WINTER HEALTH 101

With all of this bitter cold and bone-chilling wind we have had recently, I thought I’d share some information to help you stay healthy this winter (and for the rest of the year, too!)

Colds and the flu are caused by viruses, NOT from being outside or due to the abrupt change in weather temperature. Rhinovirus (the virus that causes the common cold) actually survives from the late spring through to the early fall months, when the humidity is high. Since we are more apt to be outside during these months, exposure is less likely. Cold and flu viruses spread more in the winter due to close contact with people indoors.

You CANNOT get the flu from a flu shot! Flu is spread through direct transfer of the virus from an infected person when they sneeze, cough, kiss or shake hands with someone else.

You lose heat from any part of your body that is exposed to the cold and not covered with clothing. If you’re wearing warm clothing, but your head is uncovered, then the only place you can lose body heat is your head. So, in addition to wearing warm clothing, you need to also wear warm socks, gloves and earmuffs and/or hats to protect yourself. Protecting your extremities is crucial, since those areas are most vulnerable to frostbite.

The sun’s rays are not as strong in winter as they are in the summer. However, you can STILL get sunburn, even if it’s cold and cloudy, and when the sun’s rays reflect off snow! Protect your skin by using a sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher and UVA/UVB blocker year round.

Pollen or ragweed allergies improve somewhat in the winter. If you are sensitive, however, to indoor allergens such as pet dander, mold or dust mites, your allergies may actually worsen! Sneezing or stuffy nose symptoms may be more problematic than usual during the winter season, so keep your home as clean and germ free as possible.

Eating chicken soup CAN fight a cold! Chicken soup may have a positive effect on the immune system and can bring white cells together, which help fight off infection in your body and help you recover faster if you become sick. So, ALWAYS have a stockpile of chicken soup (preferably homemade) in your refrigerator or freezer! In addition, hot liquids can also help reduce the symptoms of a cold or flu virus, relieving sinus and throat pain.

Hope this information is helpful to you in making sure that you go through the winter season and throughout the year as healthy as possible! Let’s all strive for a healthy body, mind and spirit EVERY day!

Want to make homemade soup? Here’s a quick recipe:

Chicken soup

Boil down all the bones with onions, garlic, carrots, celery and spices for a couple hours until all the meat that was left on the bones falls off and the bones have released their collagen (the gelatinous protein) and you’ve got homemade chicken stock. Strain it, pick out the chunks of chicken, add more ingredients like noodles or rice and new vegetables and you’ve got a pot of chicken whatever soup.

Flu Season 2012

Tuesday, November 6th, 2012

Seasonal (or common) influenza is a respiratory illness that can be spread from person to person and is caused by human influenza viruses. 

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF THE FLU?

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Sore Throat
  • Body Aches
  • Headache

Flu season usually runs from October until May. The CDC recommends that you get a flu shot before the virus starts circulating. That’s why you see all the drugstores have already had signs up to get your flu shot there.

HOW CAN THE FLU BE PREVENTED?

  • ¬†Get the flu vaccine
  • ¬†Cover coughs and sneezes
  • ¬†Wash hands frequently
  • ¬†Avoid sick people
  • ¬†Clean commonly shared or frequently touched items

 

WHEN SHOULD I GET THE FLU VACCINE?

You should get vaccinated as soon as vaccine is available (ideally by October-November) and as long as flu is present in the community.

 An annual flu shot is suggested for anyone age 6 months and over. Seniors are encouraged to get a shot as soon as they can, as each year people age 65 and over have the highest rates of influenza-related deaths and hospitalizations.

The influenza virus changes every year, so the vaccine changes too in order to combat the virus.

If you need assistance finding a place to get the flu shot visit:

http://www.state.nj.us/health/flu/findflushot.shtml