During the winter months, Cooper’s three Urgent Care facilities—located in Audubon, Cherry Hill, and Cinnaminson— are busy treating a variety of seasonal ailments. From colds and flu to slips and falls, winter poses a unique set of health threats.
Urgent Care Medical Director Jillian C. Smith, MD, sees the same trends play out each year, but advises that many winter-related ailments and injuries that Urgent Care treats are preventable.
“There are many easy precautions you can take to stay healthy and injury-free during the winter months,” says Dr. Smith. She continued, “for example, get your flu shot. We see numerous people each year with influenza, and getting a flu vaccine at your PCP or at Urgent Care early in the season is the best way to help protect against the flu.”
While all bodies are different and nothing health-related is a guarantee, Dr. Smith recommends following these eight steps to help you and your family fight off winter’s effects on the body.
- Get a flu shot. Getting a flu shot dramatically decreases your chances of contracting the flu virus. It also helps to reduce the effects if you do get the flu, and it reduces flu-related hospitalizations. No, you will not get the flu from getting the shot.
- Bundle up. To fight off winter weather, bundle up to minimize the amount of skin exposed to the elements. Dress in layers, including your legs, and wear a warm hat, thick gloves, and winter socks.
- Get enough sleep. Make sleep a priority. Healthy adults require between 7 and 9 hours of sleep each night. Kids and teens require a few more hours.
- Wash your hands. Sickness can easily be passed around from person to person. Be vigilant about washing your hands every time you sneeze or cough, after you use the restroom, and before meals.
- Moisturize. Use a moisturizer on parts of your body— hands, feet, face, and scalp—that are susceptible to flaking and cracking.
- Wear proper footwear. When the forecast calls for snow or ice, it’s important to have a quality pair of insulated and water-resistant boots with good rubber treads to help you navigate these dangerous surfaces.
- Prevent stress. Fend off the winter blues by taking time to relax, exercise, and connect with friends. You can reduce stress by getting enough sleep, following a routine, making plans to get out and do things, and spending time outside.
- Vitamin D. Don’t let winter cause a vitamin D deficiency. You can take a supplement or eat foods that are rich in vitamin D, such as salmon, tuna, mushrooms, eggs, and milk.
“It’s important to take extra precautions to enjoy a happy and healthy winter season,” says Dr. Smith, “but, if faced with an illness or injury, it’s important to know there is a Cooper Urgent Care center nearby to help get you back to full strength.”
At Cooper’s Urgent Care centers, patients can expect superior quality of care delivered by experienced providers and expert board-certified Emergency Medicine physicians. Each location offers convenient hours, including weekends and holidays, for South Jersey residents. When you or a member of your family needs immediate treatment, trust Cooper Urgent Care.
Visit CooperHealth.org/UrgentCare for your nearest Urgent Care Center and download our free Winter Health Guide.