Nurse Offers Tips to Avoid Cold and Flu

Graciella Arrascue, Staff Writer

It is always challenging to avoid getting sick during the winter months, especially in a large, populated building like Barnstable High School. Nurse Trish Tucker has words of advice for avoiding sickness this winter.

“We see more illness in the winter because of cold and flu season,” said Tucker. Gastroenteritis is another common sickness, consisting of nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. These “viruses are spread via respiratory droplets,” said Tucker.

To avoid these germs, Tucker advises avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth and washing your hands frequently. She also recommends getting the flu vaccine every year. Each week, the nurses send a “Wednesday Wellness Tips” email to staff. Recently, Tucker wrote one on how to stay healthy during cold and flu season, suggesting  “taking good care of yourself; rest, eat well and exercise,” and that “all of these things help to build a healthy immune system.”

“Infectious droplets outside the body may remain actively infectious for several hours,” and that, “humidity and temperature may also contribute to viruses remaining active for a longer duration.”

Taking Vitamin C is proven to be good for you and taking Zinc at the first sign of a cold may shorten the length of the cold, but there is not a lot of research to back that up, said Tucker.

Tucker also recommended other steps you can take to prevent sickness. She said investing in hand sanitizer and antimicrobial wipes is smart.

If you do get sick, cough into your sleeve, as “shaking hands with someone who is sick or breathing in a respiratory droplet after someone sneezes is a common mode of transmission,” wrote Tucker,  “stay home with a fever, copious cough, sneezing, vomiting or diarrhea.”

Tucker also advised people to remember to follow good principles outside of school and work, “you are continually being exposed [to germs] and should maintain these basic principles to keep healthy.”