Healthy for the holidays: Flu season returns


The Catalyst / Francesca Arbelaez

Washing your hands is the best way to prevent illness and be able to participate in holiday festivities.

With COVID-19 cases declining across the world, cases of common illnesses like flu and colds are starting to increase. In addition to relaxed hygienic protocols, masks are no longer mandatory in public, leaving many exposed to the ailments that come with the fall season. This spike can lead to missing days of school, work and even holidays, so what can be done to avoid missing out?

The answer to this question has been answered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) countless times, but the best way to stop the spread of infection is to wash your hands. This routine might seem scarily familiar, but it is crucial to staying healthy now and during the holiday season. A simple activity such as this can be made fun for the holidays by purchasing hand soap with seasonal scents like cinnamon apple or cranberry nutmeg. Festive sanitizers can also make a great stocking stuffer as they smell great and can keep your friends and family healthy.

Many disregard flu symptoms for allergies, as they have very similar manifestations. Headaches, sore throat and congestion are just some that they have in common. However, a fever is something that is unique to influenza, meaning the previous symptoms are most likely more than allergies.

“If you are experiencing any symptoms that are rare for you, I would recommend staying diligent about hand washing or just staying home if you know something is wrong,” said Nurse Practitioner Jane Hadinger, “It would be a huge bummer to get sick at this time of year so do your best to keep healthy, even if that means wearing a mask.”

Before the pandemic, it was rare to see people wearing masks out in public, creating a stigma around those who chose to wear them. Now post-COVID-19, masks are seen as a great option for those who want to protect themselves or those around them from any airborne disease, not just COVID-19. Masks can also be made festive with wintery designs or holiday characters such as Santa or Frosty the Snowman.