Preparing for a Healthy Fall

August 26, 2017

When the first leaves start to turn and a cool breeze creeps into the evening air our minds wander to apple picking, hay rides, and football.

Unfortunately, as we welcome some of our fall favorites we can also be greeting other unwanted seasonal guests.

Fall is a prime time for family medicine visits.  It doesn’t matter what age you are, in the autumn months there tends to be a general spike in some common illnesses and ailments.

We’re sharing three of the most common fall ailments and ways to prevent them so you and your family can enjoy all of the leaf-peeping and apple cider your hearts desire.

  1. Hay Fever: Hay rides aren’t the only cornerstone of fall. Hay fever, also known as seasonal allergies or rhinitis, can spike in the fall. Marked by sneezing, itchy and watery eyes, and a runny nose, approximately 40-60 million Americans suffer from seasonal allergies. Seasonal allergies are triggered by breathing in an allergy-causing substance like pet dander, dust, or pollen from trees, grass, or weeds. Ragweed and mold are two of the more common triggers in the fall. Your best bet at staving off seasonal allergies is to avoid exposure to them. Keep your windows closed and wear a mask when raking leaves. If your symptoms are persistent you can talk with your family medicine physician about starting an antihistamine or decongestant.
  2. Common Cold: Symptoms of the common cold include cough, runny or stuffy nose, sore throat, slight body or headaches, and a low-grade fever. Symptoms usually appear 1-3 days after exposure to a virus. Many viruses cause the common cold but the rhinovirus is the most prevalent. When the weather starts to get cooler, people spend more time inside and are in closer contact with one another, creating a greater opportunity for viruses to spread among people. A cold virus can enter the body through the mouth, nose, or eyes. Avoid contact with those who have the cold and contaminated objects. Don’t share utensils, glasses, or other frequently held and used items. Finally, wash your hands thoroughly and regularly to prevent contracting the virus.
  3. Flu: Influenza, also known as the flu, is a seasonal respiratory virus transmitted mainly by droplets when infected people cough, sneeze, or talk and others breathe in the droplets. The virus can also spread through objects that are shared like door handles and shared utensils like serving spoons. Influenza is characterized by fever, chills, sore throat, muscle and body aches, and fatigue. It typically takes 1-4 days for symptoms to appear after being exposed to the virus. Flu season typically runs October – March. The best ways to prevent the flu are to get a flu vaccine, practice good hand-washing and hygiene, and avoid those who have the flu virus. Kettering Health Network offers flu vaccines at all family practice and pediatric locations.

Flu Shot Drive-Thru – Save time and stay healthy. Kettering Health Network will be hosting drive-thru flu shot clinics in October. For more information and future updates check Kettering Health Network’s homepage