With winter fast approaching, people are desperately trying to stay healthy, especially with seasonal illnesses like RSV, Covid, and the flu floating around. Flu season historically peaks between December and February however recent reports from the CDC say that seasonal flu activity is starting to see an early increase nationwide with at least 2.8 million cases, 23,000 hospitalizations, and 1,300 deaths already this year attributed to the flu.
Lauren Petoskey, an OSF Healthcare family medicine physician assistant, says that maintaining a well-balanced diet can help keep you healthy especially during fall and winter months, along with stocking up on over-the-counter medicine like zinc and vitamin C.
Whenever seasonal illnesses are on the rise, people tend to stick to orange juice, but Petoskey says that not only can orange juice not help prevent seasonal illnesses, but there are also added sugars that can do more harm than good. She does encourage you to stay hydrated though.
You can do everything right whether it’s eating healthy whole foods, drinking plenty of water, getting a full eight hours of sleep, and even exercising daily, and you can still get sick. There are things you can do though to help protect yourself and your loved ones.
Covid-19 has introduced masking to the world, but while they can be a nuisance, they can be a big help with any droplets or particles that you may breathe, cough, or sneeze out. Petoskey says masks can come in handy this fall and winter as reports of seasonal illnesses continue to rise.
In addition to wearing a mask, Petoskey urges Illinoisans to get both the latest flu and COVID vaccines if they haven’t already done so along with being cautious about when and where they gather.
If you do come down with a seasonal illness, stay home to reduce the spread of the illness. If symptoms worsen or do not go away make an appointment with your primary care physician or a local urgent care.