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Wednesday, 11 December 2013 19:16

Local medical professionals tell residents how to stay healthy during winter

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'Tis the season for the flu according to Lawrence Memorial Hospital.

"They are starting to see an increase in their flu testing," Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department clinic supervisor Kathy Colson said.

Fighting the flu can be an ugly battle.

"The flu is a respiratory illness, high fever 102-104, body aches, dry hacky cough. You just feel miserable and it can lead to pneumonia," said Colson.

Colson said prevention is key when it comes to the flu.

"It's never too late to get your flu vaccine," said Colson.

As for colds during the cold winter months, she said there are signs to look for.

"Colds are 2-3 days of not feeling well, maybe a low grade fever, running nose, kind of a wet cough," said Colson.

Colson said whether the flu or the cold there are a few things you can do to keep the sickness away.

"You want to get plenty of rest, you want to eat well, you want to exercise, and you obviously want to wash your hands and cover your cough," said Colson.

Health risks also lurk in the wintry weather.

"Walking on ice is always a treacherous thing," LMH ER Nurse Matthew Lewis said.

Lewis said during the winter, slip and fall injuries often fill emergency rooms. Other winter injuries include, back strains and heart attacks which are mostly caused by shoveling snow.

"Every degree you bend over puts more strain on your back and then when you add a heavy load like snow, it can cause some serious problems," said Lewis.

Lewis said it's best to stretch before breaking out the snow shovel and always lift small amounts. And even just the cold temperatures alone can be hazardous.

"Limit your time out in the cold," said Lewis.

Lewis said if you do stay outside too long, warming up with a lukewarm shower is often the best way to prevent any serious damage like frost bite. But the best bet whether you're worried about getting sick, or the dangers of the weather:

"Stay home," said Lewis.