Are you prepared for everything old man winter might blow your way this season? Make sure you know how to keep yourself and your family safe from common winter injuries and illness.
Get a Flu Shot
At Fast Track Urgent Care, we recommend the CDC’s “Take 3” approach to avoiding the flu. The three main components are:
- Getting a flu vaccine
- Taking preventative measures every day to stop the spread of germs
- Taking antiviral drugs if your doctor prescribes them
- Wash your hands often, especially during the winter (flu season).
- Keep your hands away from your eyes, nose, and mouth as much as possible. Viruses frequently enter your body through these areas.
- Keep hand sanitizer with you and use it often.
- Avoid contact with people who have the flu
Additional Ways to Stay Flu-Free This Winter
Stay Safe in Ice and Snow
A lot of injuries happen because people are not adequately prepared to deal with snow and ice. Follow these precautions to stay safe and healthy:
- Assume all icy or wet surfaces are slippery. Wear proper (treaded) footwear and walk slowly, or, if possible, avoid the area altogether.
- Be careful when shoveling snow. Don’t overdo it!
- If you are not used to vigorous exercise, take it easy.
- If you get winded, take a break.
- Pace yourself and don’t lift too much snow at once.
- Remember to push the snow while lifting.
- Bend your knees, not your back.
- If you have heart problems, check with your physician before doing any snow shoveling.
- Avoid frostbite by limiting time outdoors and not going outside without adequate coverage—winter coat, hat, scarf, ear coverings, and waterproof footwear. If you suspect you or a member of your family has frostbite, follow these steps or come to a Fast Track Urgent Care location for treatment.
- Know the symptoms of hypothermia. Hypothermia happens when a person’s body temperature decreases rapidly. Treatment should be administered as soon as possible to avoid serious illness. Note: If you know or see someone in the DC/Maryland/Virginia area who you suspect may have or is likely to get hypothermia due to inadequate shelter, please use these community hypothermia resources to make sure the person gets help.
- Keep emergency supplies in your car. You should be equipped with the following “just in case” items:
- Booster cables, flares, tire pump
- A bag of sand or cat litter to increase tire traction if your car gets stuck in snow
- A first-aid kit
- A flashlight, battery-powered radio, and extra batteries
- Food and water
- Plastic bags
Bonus tip: During periods of rough winter weather, don’t let your cell phone’s battery power get too low. Charge it wherever and whenever you can so that you’ll be able to use it longer if the power goes out where you are.
Don’t Let the Chill Get the Best of You
To stay truly warm—and ready for changes in temperature—layering is key. If you know you’ll be going from indoors to outdoors frequently throughout your day, you’ll want to wear thin layers beneath your winter coat so that you can adjust your body temperature accordingly. The same goes for kids—remember, toddlers and younger children experience cold differently than adults too. Dress them in one more layer than you would wear in the same weather.
When your kids are enjoying themselves out in the snow, make sure you bring them inside periodically to warm up so they don’t get too cold. Offer hot chocolate or cider to entice them back indoors!
If you have questions about winter health and safety, call Fast Track Urgent Care at 800-417-1164 or visit one of our two Silver Spring-area walk-in clinics.