Taking care of yourself during cold and flu season

Facebook and grocery store conversations have been full of comments about the flu and colds going around over the holidays and during these cold, winter months. While it can be difficult to avoid all of the germs, there are some things you can do to help cut down on the exposure and keep yourself at least somewhat healthy.

Thankfully, some of the Marion County healthcare professionals had some words of wisdom for residents to protect themselves during this high-risk season.

“Washing hands is so important right now,” said Sally Andrews. Andrews lives in Hillsboro but works as a Registered Nurse (RN) at St. Luke Medical Clinic. Andrews stresses this to patients who come into the clinic.

In fact, all of the experts stressed the importance of handwashing.

“They really beat that into our heads in nursing school and in practice. There was an ongoing joke that if ‘washing your hands’ was an answer on a test, always pick that one. If you didn’t know an answer just put down wash your hands and surely it’ll be right somehow,” said Christa Shipman, who lives in Marion and is a LPN (licensed practical nurse) at St. Luke’s Medical Clinic.

Shipman had a few other suggestions as well.

“Our number one suggestion is to get your flu shot, of course. And avoid touching your eyes/nose. Cover your cough/sneeze. And stay home when sick,” said Shipman. “And when you aren’t sick, but just trying to stay healthy and fit, stay active as much as possible, eat mindfully which means filling up on fruits and veggies first, eat slower, stay hydrated (with water), and make sure you are getting ample rest.”

Sharleen Francis lives in Goessel and is an RN at Ascension Via Christi in Wichita. Francis has a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. In addition to emphasizing handwashing and drinking plenty of fluids, she offered a bit more advice.

Don’t push yourself to get so much done when you are under the weather. You are just one person and that is enough. Stay home and rest—everyone will understand if you are not there,” said Francis.

Remember to go in and see your nurse and doctor if you need to. There are many Marion County options for care if you do not already have a clinic that you go to.