Flu season is here: Tips for staying healthy throughout the holidays

October is the month traditionally recognized as the start of flu season in the United States. Photo: Mayra Beltran / AP

SAN DIEGO, October 8, 2013 — October is the month traditionally recognized as the start of flu season in the United States.

As the advent of fall brings cooler temperatures, pumpkin patches and leaves turning from green to gold, there is a common concern about how to stay healthy throughout the duration of flu season.

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Flu season in the United States usually continues until the end of May.

Traditional American holidays which are anticipated and celebrated, including Halloween, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, and the arrival of a New Year, can easily become overshadowed by the advent of flu season and its unfortunate impact on us and our loved ones.

To help you avoid getting the flu, and enjoy your holiday season to the fullest, www.flu.gov offers the following guidelines:

-Wash your hands often with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub.
-Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. Germs spread this way.
-Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
-Practice good health habits.  Get plenty of sleep and exercise, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat healthy food. (LifeCycles health tip: Avoid sugary foods—Sugar reduces the ability of the body’s white cells to kill microorganisms from viruses, so reduce your sugar intake when you have the flu virus).
-Cover your nose and your mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
-If you are sick with flu-like symptoms, stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone after the use of a fever-reducing medicine.

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Symptoms for having the flu may vary with age or general health. Those with asthma, weakened immune systems, respiratory problems, and the like may be especially prone to getting the flu. 

There are some common symptoms for becoming ill this flu season, and http://www.webmd.boots.com suggests paying attention to the following:

-High temperature
-Severe aches and pains in the joints and muscles around the eyes
-Generalized weakness
-Dry cough
-Sore throat and watery eyes
-Diarrhea or upset stomach

Seek immediate attention from a health care professional if you experience any of these symptoms during flu season.

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that persons from age 6 months and up be vaccinated as soon as it becomes available.

Their recommendation is a method of prevention, and also a measure to stop the proliferation of the flu virus to others.

In a recent article published by AARP, “7 Flu-Fighting Foods,” by Nissa Simon, it is suggested that there are seven key foods which can help to boost overall immunity: Black-eyed peas, carrots, tea, yogurt, tomatoes, mushrooms and almonds.

For those planning to travel at home or abroad over the holidays, it is critically important to get vaccinated and to practice prevention.

The website www.Flu.gov recommends obtaining the flu vaccine as the very best preventive measure, no matter the destination.

It is critically important to account for the geographical differences from one country to another, as every global hemisphere is unique in its incidences of the flu. It is further recommended to check on the destination of choice and assess the flu risk.

For further information about traveling during flu season, go to www.Flu.gov to receive the most current information available.

AP Image

Celebrating American traditions and sharing them with family and loved ones is a great part of the anticipation, planning, and excitement of the holiday season. By proactively implementing sound preventive strategies, while also taking care of overall general health, there is every possibility for fulfilling the promise of the holidays influenza free.

Until next time, enjoy the ride in good health!

Laurie Edwards-Tate, MS, is a health care provider of over 30 years. As a featured “Communities” columnist since 2011, LifeCycles with Laurie Edwards-Tate emphasizes healthy aging and maintaining independence, while delighting and informing its readers. Laurie is a recognized expert in home and community-based, long-term care services, and is also an educator.

In addition to writing for “Communities,” Laurie is the President and CEO of her firm, At Your Home Familycare, which serves persons of all ages who are disabled and infirm with a variety of non-medical, in-home care and concierge services.

Copyright © 2013 by At Your Home Familycare

This article is the copyrighted property of the writer and Communities @ WashingtonTimes.com. Written permission must be obtained before reprint in online or print media. REPRINTING TWTC CONTENT WITHOUT PERMISSION AND/OR PAYMENT IS THEFT AND PUNISHABLE BY LAW.

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Laurie Edwards-Tate

Laurie Edwards-Tate, MS, President and Founder of At Your Home Familycare in San Diego, California, was among the first to recognize the growing need for services allowing individuals to remain independent created by the aging of America including the Baby Boomer generation, now being called the “Silver Tsunami.” It is the Baby Boomers who are rapidly redefining what aging and growing older means and looks like in America today.

Now celebrating its 28th year in business, AYHF is among San Diego County’s Top  Women-Owned Businesses and Fastest Growing Businesses, and enjoys a reputation for upholding the highest possible standards among its employees and its emphasis on customer service.  Edwards-Tate is a valued contributor to the public dialogue on current issues and challenges in the home care industry, and serves in leadership roles on the Home Care Aide Association of America Advisory Board and Private Duty Home Care Association Advisory Board, as well as the Home Care Aide Steering Committee of the California Association for Health Services at Home.

Edwards-Tate is frequently interviewed in the media on healthy aging, caregiving, and health care topics. 

 Follow Laurie and AYHF  at www.atyourhomefamilycare.com; on Facebook at www.facebook.com/atyourhomefamilycare, and Twitter at @AYHFamilycare

Contact Laurie Edwards-Tate


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