Tips to stay healthy this cold and flu season - KSWO, Lawton, OK- Wichita Falls, TX: News, Weather, Sports. ABC, 24/7, Telemundo -

Tips to stay healthy this cold and flu season

(Source MGN) (Source MGN)

LAWTON, OK (KSWO) - With this winter season's drastic temperature changes, it's a pretty safe bet to say that you or someone you know has been sick recently.

Over the past few weeks we've seen changing temperatures, with them rising into the 50s and dropping back down into the 20's, but does the fluctuating weather affect our health?

A health official said the weather the cold weather itself brings about all the sicknesses we are seeing this time of year, whether that cold weather stays consistently or is here one day and gone the next.

Nurse Practitioner at Comanche County Memorial Hospital Shannon Ballou says if it feels like more people around you are getting sick right now, it's because they are.

"This is just the season for common colds, the season when we see the illnesses like this, a lot of the respiratory illnesses like this, changes in weather, and this is when we see the peak in this kind of viruses,” said Ballou.

But it's not the season for the cold simply because of the weather, but also because of what we do when the weather gets here. When it's cold, we find ourselves spending more time inside, where the air is recycled and we are in close quarters with other people.

With that, Ballou says there's not a sure-fire way to ensure that you won't catch a cold, but says there are a lot of steps you can take to hopefully avoid whatever illnesses are going around.

"Wash your hands all the time,” Ballou said. “Washing your hands is the number one thing we can do to prevent any of those types of illnesses. When you’re sick, stay home, try to stay away from any of those types of people who have illnesses. When you’re sick, coughing, sneezing, try to cover your mouth to prevent the spread of the illness."

Ballou says a sore throat, coughing, congestion and a runny nose are all tell-tale signs of a cold, but says just because you have those symptoms doesn't necessarily mean you need to run off to visit the doctor.

"Most of the stuff can be treated at home, over the counter, it's not something you have to see your provider about so there's some over the counter treatments that might help with symptoms but rest, lots of fluids to help you get through the symptoms,” Ballou said.

There are some symptoms you should be on the lookout for, as a doctor could be needed to treat them.

"Anything unusual for the cold and flu, if you're having shortness of breath or if you're having chest pains, anything like that, those aren't cold or flu symptoms and that's something you'll definitely want to see your provider about,” Ballou said.

Ballou says it is never too late to get a flu shot. She says this year's flu shot has been very effective and it helps prevent the common cold, as well as the flu.

Copyright 2016 KSWO. All Rights Reserved.

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