SHELBYVILLE, IL – Cold and flu season is upon us again, and HSHS Good Shepherd Hospital and Family Clinic want you to be prepared this year. Each year, there are 25 to 50 million cases of the flu reported in the United States. The flu usually does not progress into any life-threatening diseases, but it can be more serious for some people. It is important to note that vaccination not only protects the person receiving the vaccine, but it also helps prevent the spread of disease to those who are particularly most vulnerable to serious illnesses, such as infants, young children, the elderly and those with chronic conditions and weakened immune systems.
Unfortunately, there is no known cure for the flu virus, but it is important to be informed about how to prevent yourself and your family from getting and spreading it.
Suzanne Clarke, M.D. from the HSHS Good Shepherd Family Clinic advises patients that protecting yourself against the flu protects everyone, and recommends the following health tips to slow the spread of the flu this season:
Get your yearly flu shot. The best form of influenza prevention is the flu vaccine. It is best to get the vaccine in the early autumn months, but it is also available throughout the winter.
Wash your hands. Hand washing is one of the best practices you can adopt to keep both colds and the flu from spreading. When soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue. Using a tissue helps keep germs from spreading to yourself and others. If you don’t have a tissue or cloth, cough or sneeze into the inside of your elbow or upper arm.
Stay home if you are feeling sick. If you or your kids get sick, stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them. Conversely, avoid close contact with anyone who appears to be sick.
Avoid sharing objects such as utensils, cups, bottles and telephones. If you must share, disinfect the objects before using them.
Stay active. Regular exercise, especially vigorous exercise, will keep your body healthy.
Eat more fruits and vegetables. Eating oranges and other vitamin C-rich fruits and vegetables is a great way to support your immune system.
Drink plenty of water. Water simultaneously flushes out your system, rids you of infected germs and rehydrates you. If you already have the flu, make sure you don't get dehydrated.
Get enough sleep. Getting enough sleep is very important when it comes to assisting your body in fighting off infections. Sleep helps to strengthen the immune system and as a result, helps to rid the body of the viruses quickly.
“My job is as much about keeping our patients well as healing them when they are ill,” Dr. Clarke said. “It is my hope that this short list of advice will give my patients the tools they need to stay well through the flu season. But even the best advice sometimes fails. Should they need us, we are always ready to help.”
For an appointment to see Dr. Clarke or another provider in the HSHS Good Shepherd Family Clinic, please call (217) 774-4400.
About HSHS Good Shepherd Hospital
Since its inception in 1916, HSHS Good Shepherd Hospital in Shelbyville (GSS) has been dedicated to excellence in healthcare for those living and visiting their communities. GSS has accomplished this by providing comprehensive health services and meeting the needs of patients served through their compassionate care, business integrity and community responsibility. GSS provides a 24/7 emergency department that is fully staffed by physicians and highly-trained nurses, and also features inpatient and outpatient services, including a 24-hour laboratory and an imaging department that meets today’s highest standards for diagnostic imaging technology. GSS has an advanced surgery department and an acute inpatient care unit. Dedicated to being a hometown hospital, GSS’ home health and rehabilitation departments are committed to excellence with a team of professional nurses and therapists providing a variety of medical services and rehabilitative therapies, all designed to help patients heal in their own environment. The group of visiting specialists in the outpatient clinic works closely with GSS to help keep the healthcare services local even if a specialized procedure or exam is required. GSS strives to be the first choice for the community’s healthcare needs. For more information about HSHS Good Shepherd Hospital, visit www.hshsgoodshepherd.org.
About Hospital Sisters Health System
Hospital Sisters Health System’s (HSHS) mission is to reveal and embody Christ’s healing love for all people through our high-quality Franciscan health care ministry. HSHS provides state-of-the-art health care to our patients and is dedicated to serving all people, especially the most vulnerable, at each of our 15 local systems and physician practices in Illinois (Breese, Decatur, Effingham, Greenville, Highland, Litchfield, O’Fallon, Shelbyville and Springfield) and Wisconsin (Chippewa Falls, Eau Claire, Oconto Falls, Sheboygan and two in Green Bay). HSHS is sponsored by Hospital Sisters Ministries, and Hospital Sisters of St. Francis is the founding institute. For more information about HSHS, visit www.hshs.org. For more information about Hospital Sisters of St. Francis, visitwww.hospitalsisters.org.