IBD and Cold and Flu Season: Staying Well
If you have Inflammatory Bowel Disease you know that catching any extra illness on top of the pain you deal with in daily life can be rough. Unfortunately some of the medications used to treat IBD can make it easier to get sick in the first place. That is why it is very important to follow your doctor's instruction regarding illness prevention.
One of the best things you can do to prevent illness is hand washing. When you come home from running errands; after you touch raw meat, empty trash or play with pets and always before you eat you should be washing your hands. Lather up, sing "Happy Birthday" twice and rinse. Simple but effective. If you are not able to wash your hands you can use an alcohol based hand sanitizer.
Sanitizing commonly touched items in the house can also cut down on the germ count. Door knobs, cell phones, light switches and remotes can all be wiped down to prevent spreading germs. Be sure to read the label on the product you are using. Some require you to leave the items wet for a certain period of time or they do not work as well.
Stay away from friends or family who have been sick. Most people will be contagious for up to 24 hours after they have run a fever. Some stomach bugs can be passed for up to three days after the patient has had their last symptom! If you have a fragile immune system make sure your family knows and takes the proper precautions.
Vaccinations for both flu and pneumonia can help some patients prevent these common winter illnesses. Check with your doctor to see if these might be safe bets for you as well. If you are unable to get the vaccines yourself it may be wise to discuss if your caregiver should get them.
Just a few of these simple tips can help keep you well this holiday season!