An ounce of prevention...
Leaves are changing. The air is crisp. Thoughts turn to cozy nights by a warm fire and life slows down. Despite fall’s splendor, the change of seasons also brings about cold and flu season.
While not all people with a disability are at a higher risk for colds and flu, there are some who must be a bit more cautious.
For instance, people with limited mobility, people who are unable to understand or practice preventative measures, or people who are unable to communicate cold and flu-like symptoms are at a greater risk.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), cognitive dysfunction, seizure disorders (epilepsy) and other neurologic disorders are conditions associated with a high risk for complications of influenza.
Some people with neurologic conditions may have trouble with muscle function, lung function, difficulty coughing, swallowing or clearing fluids from their airways. These problems make cold and flu symptoms worse, even deadly.
According to the CDC, surveys show that Americans suffer a billion colds each year. When you add in the flu, the number is even higher.
Colds and flu are also the most common causes of work and school absenteeism, with an estimated 22 million school days lost each year.
Colds and the flu are caused by viral infections and are easily spread from person to person through touch, air and saliva.
While it may be impossible to completely prevent the spread of these viruses, there are things you can do to avoid becoming one of the miserable statistics.
Prevent the flu this season
1. Keep your body healthy through exercise, getting enough sleep and eating a diet rich in antioxidants. A healthy immune system is the best defense for preventing illness.
2. Stay home if you don’t feel well. If you become infected, keep the germs from spreading by staying home – and don’t forget to take care of yourself!
3. Use disinfectant when you clean at home, especially in the bathroom and kitchen. Stay away from sponges and rags — studies show they’re the number one source of germs in the entire house.
4. Keep your fingers away from your nose and eyes to avoid infecting yourself with virus particles. Without thinking, we rub our eyes, cover our mouths or rub our noses with our hands.
5. Wash your hands often. To eliminate germs, use soap and warm water and rub your hands together for at least 20 seconds. Clean under the nails, between fingers and wash your wrists as well. In public bathrooms, use a paper towel to turn off the faucet and another one to dry your hands.
6. Cough into your bent elbow, not your hands where it’s more likely to spread bacteria and viruses through touch.
Find more about flu prevention by logging on to webmd.com.