Tips For Getting Through Respiratory Illness Season with UPHS – Bell DNP Christie Ferrari
November 16, 2023
Germs that cause common respiratory illnesses are circulating. Unfortunately, they’re widespread and oftentimes unavoidable. While many can expect to encounter an illness or two during the winter months—peak season for respiratory infections—there are steps you can take to protect yourself, your family and your community and even speed up your recovery time.
UP Health System – Bell | Family Medicine Nurse Practitioner Christie Ferrari shared some helpful information and tips for staying safe and healthy this year.
Q: What are the top circulating respiratory illnesses this time of year and what symptoms should be expected?
A: Some of the more common respiratory illnesses we are seeing are typical common cold, Influenza, Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV), and COVID-19. The most common symptoms include runny nose, fever, chills, body aches, nasal congestion, and a cough, which can range from mild to severe.
Q: What can people do to prevent illness or serious complications?
A: The best things you can do to prevent illness are to wash your hands, stay home if you are sick, get adequate rest, and stay hydrated.
Q: Any tips for strengthening the immune system going into peak season?
A: Taking vitamins such as zinc and vitamin C can help boost your immune system. Talking to your healthcare provider about appropriate vaccines that may help reduce illness is also important going into peak season such as the COVID booster, influenza vaccine, pneumonia vaccine, and the new RSV vaccine.
Q: If sick, what can be done to prevent the spread?
A: Most importantly, stay home and rest! Additional actions you can take would be to wash hands frequently (with soap and water for 20 seconds) avoid sharing food, cups or eating utensils with those in your household, cover your mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing, and disinfect your home and belongings—such as doorknobs, light switches, children’s toys, etc.
If you test positive for any illness or are showing active symptoms, stay home (or keep your child home) for at least 24 hours after the fever is gone, except for seeking medical care. For COVID-19, follow current guidelines for isolation to help prevent the spread in your community.
Although everyone is susceptible to illness, some individuals are at greater risk of developing complications from these viruses, including children younger than five years old, adults 65 and older, pregnant women, residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities, and those with certain medical conditions like asthma, heart disease, and blood disorders. Please take extra precautions around members of our most vulnerable populations.
If you have any questions or concerns during this year’s respiratory illness season, UP Health System is here to help. Visit our provider directory to get connected to the right care.