By Carla Schick
The holiday season is nearly upon us. Soon, the usual suspects will arrive - and I don't mean just family and friends. Influenza, bronchitis and the common cold are likely to make an appearance, ready to plague us with fatigue, congestion, vomiting and a sore throat.
Patients who are treated with immune globulin (IG) are particularly aware that during this time of year, crammed shopping malls and potluck parties are stock-full of snotty humanity. With sickness lurking around every door handle, how can we remain symptom-free? Here are a few suggestions.
During this time of year, our children are invited to more than the usual number of parties and play dates. Even though we want them to enjoy all the benefits that their IG infusions have given them, we don't want them to become so drained that they get sick. Let's try to be balanced and choose which activities they can safely participate in - and let's not feel bad about declining an invitation or changing plans if our instincts tell us it's not a good idea.
Any occasion where food is served, especially buffet style, is an opportunity for germs and bacteria to wreak havoc on our health. Instead of eating food that's been sitting out past its prime, we need to try filling up before the event, or if possible, plan to bring a second option.
In a Hotel
When staying in a hotel, it's a smart idea to disinfect everything from the TV remote to the bathroom sink with antibacterial wipes. Some disinfecting wipes have the potential to kill germs that cause the flu and methicillin resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), along with other potentially deadly viruses.
In the Home
When guests walk through the door, refrain from spraying them with Lysol and instead place a bottle of Purell next to the entrance so that they can sanitize their hands as they walk in. A gentle reminder that we or our children want to avoid getting sick should ease any offense. If a potential guest has the sniffles, politely ask that they sit this one out. If nothing else, the request will give the guest a reminder that it would be rude to attend while they are still contagious.
If we accept every party and dinner invitation that comes our way, we're likely to feel exhausted and frazzled before the season's half over. The key is to be selective and just attend the events where we'll enjoy the most meaningful connections with friends and family.
When it's time to attend a gathering, it's best not to expect relatives who haven't spoken in years to suddenly strike up a heartfelt conversation, or hope that a house full of children will be a haven of peace. We need to simply make an appearance and accept things the way they are. We can help ourselves ward off stress-induced illness by remaining calm and not worrying about things we can't change.
While the holidays are a time for delicious food, connecting with family and reveling in the season's festivities, it's also the time of year when germs come out in droves. But we can take steps to protect ourselves and our loved ones.
How will you try to avoid sickness this season?