(Family Features)--Declining temperatures can bring fun, cool-weather activities, but they also mean cold and flu season is lurking. While everyone hopes to stay healthy, it can be difficult to completely avoid viruses and bugs.
Dr. Deborah Gilboa, a board-certified family physician and Braun spokesperson, offers some simple suggestions to help your family plan for cold and flu season.
Dispose of expired medicine.
Spend some time checking the medications you already have at home. Review the expiration dates and if any need to be thrown out, research how to properly dispose of them according to local government guidelines.
Before cold and flu season, make sure to stockpile must-haves like ginger ale, ice pops and recommended cough suppressants. Thinking ahead means you won't have to rush out when you or a family member comes down with something.
Practice healthy habits.
Encourage the entire family to maintain healthy habits such as regular hand washing, following a nutritious diet, drinking plenty of water, and coughing or sneezing into a tissue to help minimize the spread of cold and flu viruses.
Use a reliable thermometer.
Reading the temperature of a person who feels ill can help provide confidence and peace of mind. Make sure you have a reliable thermometer, ideally that takes professionally accurate temperature readings via the ear canal.
"It's important to carefully monitor potential illnesses to make sure children get and stay well, and taking an accurate temperature reading is a necessary part of this process," Gilboa says. "As a doctor and a mom to four boys, it gives me the confidence to know that I'm accurately taking my child's temperature before I take any next steps, like administering medication."
Have important info on hand.
To save time when your child is ill, keep a reference of your child's allergies, prescribed medications, dosage amounts and current weight handy. Health care providers typically need this information to correctly prescribe and dose most medications. Other items to keep on-hand include school sick day policies, operating manuals for medical devices and a reference of temperature readings that classify a fever.
Control your home's humidity levels with a humidifier to help prevent the survival of flu viruses on surfaces and in the air.
Keep contact info accessible.
Keep a list of important phone numbers and addresses inside your medicine cabinet door or on the fridge so they're easily accessible to family members, babysitters and caretakers. Include your family doctor or local clinic, schools, pharmacists and anyone else you may need to reach in an emergency.
If cold or flu reach your household this winter, it's always important to consult a doctor if you have any questions regarding the health of your family members.
Published with permission from RISMedia.