How to Prevent Respiratory Illnesses
As the cold air settles in and the winter season is upon us, we brace ourselves for the illnesses that come along with this time of year. The world is full of advice for avoiding illness during the cold and flu season, and many diseases and illnesses can affect our respiratory tract. So what steps can you take to prevent respiratory illness for yourself and those you love this year?
A respiratory infection is any infection or disease that impacts the airways in your body, meaning the nose, sinuses, lungs, and throat. Symptoms of respiratory infections include fever, runny nose, coughing, sneezing, and shortness of breath. Depending on your specific type of respiratory illness, it may be contagious. While all respiratory diseases are not the same, there are some everyday things you can do to help avoid them.
Live a Healthy Lifestyle
Keep yourself and your family healthy by keeping your immune system strong. A healthy immune system is a strong defense against illness. Ways to boost your immune system include:
- Eating a diet full of fruits and vegetables.
- Getting plenty of sleep.
- Exercising regularly.
Practice Proper Hygiene
Many regular hygiene practices can help to keep you healthy and avoid respiratory disease. For example, wash your hands often with soap and water, scrubbing for at least 20 seconds. Additionally, avoid touching your face with unwashed hands to keep unwanted germs out of your airways.
Vaccines are available for some respiratory diseases, such as diphtheria, pertussis, and measles. Protect yourself from respiratory illnesses by ensuring you are up to date on these immunizations. Yearly flu shots are especially crucial to protect yourself and those around you.
Wear a Mask
You’ve heard the advice to cover your cough and sneeze when you have a respiratory infection. One way to do this is to wear a mask to prevent respiratory secretions from spreading.
Smoking, including vaping, will damage your lungs and cause various health problems. Smoking increases your risk of respiratory illness as well as the risk of related complications.
While we can only be responsible for ourselves, there are a few things you can do to prevent a community outbreak:
- Stay home if you are not feeling well.
- Cover coughs and sneezes.
- Wash your hands often.
Staying in touch with your healthcare professional is always the best way to keep on top of your health, especially during cold and flu season. But you can’t plan for every bump and bruise that life throws your way – that’s why Immediate Care is here for you.
Our urgent care centers combine the convenience of a walk-in medical office with delivering compassionate, quality medical care. Located in Brick, East Windsor, Edison, Hazlet, Marlboro, Red Bank, and Toms River, Immediate Care is open seven days a week, including most holidays.