(StatePoint) Cold and flu season is upon us, which for many people means it’s time for sore throats, coughs and runny noses. While colds cause mild versions of these symptoms, the flu is typically more severe with additional symptoms like a fever and muscle aches. Unfortunately, both conditions are all too common.
Annually, people in the United States suffer one billion colds, and up to 20 percent of people in the US get the flu, according to the National Institutes of Health.
“Fortunately, there are many steps that people can take to ward off the threat of cold and flu,” says Jill Turner-Mitchael, a registered pharmacist and the senior vice president of Sam’s Club Health and Wellness.
How can you keep yourself and your family healthy this season? Turner-Mitchael and the Sam’s Club pharmacists are offering some tips:
• Eat right: Wellness starts from within. Boost your immunity with a healthful diet complete with a variety of fruits and vegetables. You’ll want to ensure your family maintains a diet that is rich in vitamin C, beta carotene and vitamin E. Get your daily dose in hearty soups, vegetables roasts and winter salads.
• Wash your hands: The outside world can be a germy place. Before opening the mail or changing out of your work clothes, wash your hands. This should be the first thing you do when you get home and the first step in any meal preparation that you do. Wash them often throughout the day, as well.
• Get some rest: Lack of sleep can contribute to weakened immunity. Keep your body strong by taking advantage of the short days in winter to head to bed a bit early and get a proper amount of shut eye.
• Get vaccinated: Don’t forget to get a flu shot. A new one is needed every year, as the body’s immune response from vaccination is temporary. This season’s shot will protect against the viruses that research shows will be most prevalent.
These days, it’s easier and more affordable than ever to do so. Licensed pharmacists can administer walk-in flu shots at retailers like Sam’s Club, which offers affordable flu shots to both members and the public. Specifically, Sam’s Club is offering standard three and four strain flu shots to anyone eight years of age and above, as well as a special high-dose shot designed for seniors 65 years and older. Turner-Mitchael says this is part of the company’s commitment to helping people live healthier lives. Learn more at www.SamsClub.com.
• Stay active: You may not have any beach plans in the works but that doesn’t mean you should neglect the gym. One of the many benefits of regular exercise is that it is linked to a healthy immune system, so stay active all year long.
Don’t let a bad cold or flu sweep you off your feet this winter. Take steps to guard your health all season. And remember – if you have any questions about the common cold, the flu, or any other health conditions, your local pharmacist can be a great go-to resource.