By: Tyrrell Jenkins, MD, MPH, Internal Medicine, CareMount Medical
September 11, 2020
Pumpkin-spiced beverages are back, signaling the transition to fall and winter and a good reminder to prepare for cold weather health needs. With COVID-19 dominating health concerns, continued vigilance is a must – rigorous hand washing, social distancing and wearing a mask. And this year, more than ever before, it’s essential to plan also for the “usual” seasonal ailments and illnesses that can be expected as days get shorter and cooler: the flu, the common cold, sore throat and respiratory illnesses; dry, itchy skin; asthma, to name a few. Here are some ways you can begin preparing now:
• Prevent the flu. You’re already ahead of the game by taking precautions against COVID-19 because those actions can also help protect you from the highly infectious common cold and flu. Of these viruses, though, influenza is currently the only one that is potentially preventable by vaccination. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that all persons over six months of age get a yearly flu shot. Be ready and get your flu shot soon. Click here for information on CareMount Flu Clinics.
• Schedule routine wellness visits and screenings for early in the season before ice and snow get in the way. Efforts to reduce COVID-19 transmission with stay-at-home orders have caused many of us to push off appointments and health maintenance screenings, but now is the best time to schedule your visits before year end. Also, routine vaccinations and wellness checks should not be delayed and are important to reinitiate. Click here to schedule online.
• Make sure prescriptions are up to date and that you have an appropriate number of refills. Or, see if your healthcare plan allows you to order a 90-day supply of medication and/or offers a mail order option. Here’s how to request a refill through our patient portal.
• Refresh your medicine cabinet and pantry so you are prepared if you become ill.
Ask your doctor which over-the-counter (nonprescription) medicines (including creams and ointments) are suitable for you, to: relieve cold and flu symptoms like fever, runny and stuffy nose, cough, headache, and sinus pain; relieve pain from sprains and strains; treat stomach problems like heartburn and diarrhea; soothe irritated skin and rash. Stock up on healthy frozen and canned foods.
• Go virtual. Make sure you have information about our telehealth services. If the weather is bad or you are not well enough for an in-person office visit, you have the option of scheduling a video or phone appointment with one of our health providers. Learn more here.
These are just some basics. Because each person is unique and has specific health needs, it’s always best to contact or visit your physician to discuss fall and winter health preparations that are right for you.