MIAMI COUNTY — Once again, it’s the season for sneezin’ and coughin’ happens often. While there’s no remedy or vaccine to prevent you from catching a cold, there are ways to decrease your chances of getting sick during the winter.
According to Nate Bednar, public information officer and emergency preparedness coordinator for Miami County Public Health (MCPH), most people get colds in the winter and spring, but it’s possible to get a cold any time of year.
Most people recover within a week to 10 days, Bednar added, but those with weakened immune systems, asthma, or respiratory conditions may develop more serious illnesses like pneumonia.
Flu season occurs in the fall and winter and can cause mild to severe illness. “Some people, such as older people, young children, and people with certain health conditions, are at high risk for serious flu complications,” Bednar explained.
“Being indoors more during the winter months may increase your chances of coming into contact with the viruses that cause the cold or the flu.”
Bednar offered a few ways to help reduce your risk of getting sick, including: However, you can help reduce your risk of getting a sick by:
• Washing your hands often with soap and water
• Avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
• Staying away from people who are sick
Again, there is no vaccine to protect you against the common cold. However, the flu vaccine is the best way to avoid getting the flu.
MCPH began administering flu vaccinations last fall, but, “It’s not too late to get a flu shot,” said Deb French, director of nursing.
MCPH offers the flu vaccinations for all ages over 6 months. Please note that the nasal mist is not being offered this year.
MCPH’s flu clinic hours are:
• Adults: Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
• Children: Tuesday 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 1-3 p.m.; Thursday 8 a.m. to 11 a.m.
An evening clinic also is offered the first Thursday of each month from 4-6:30 p.m. MCPH is located at 510 W. Water St., Suite 130, Troy.
The cost for flu shots ranges from $17 to $59. Medicare, Medicaid and most insurances are accepted.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends yearly flu vaccination for everyone aged 6 months and older, with rare exceptions. People who should not get the flu shot include children younger than 6 months, and people with severe, life-threatening allergies to flu vaccine or any ingredient in the vaccine. This might include gelatin, antibiotics, or other ingredients.
According to the CDC, you should talk to your doctor before getting the shot:
• If you have an allergy to eggs or any of the ingredients in the vaccine. Talk to your doctor about your allergy. See https://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/vaccine/egg-allergies.htm for more information about egg allergies and flu vaccine.
• If you ever had Guillain-Barré Syndrome (a severe paralyzing illness, also called GBS). Some people with a history of GBS should not get this vaccine. Talk to your doctor about your GBS history.
Also, if you are not feeling well, talk to your doctor about your symptoms before receiving the flu vaccine.
Other ways to stave off colds and flu include keeping up your resistance through good nutrition, and getting enough sleep and exercise.
Reach Belinda M. Paschal at (937) 451-3341