Health officials preparing residents for flu, winter colds - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

Health officials preparing residents for flu, winter colds

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CHARLESTON, WV -

It's the season for the flu and other respiratory illnesses according to local health officials.

"Respiratory viruses replicate quicker and easier in cold weather," said Dr. Robin Darnell, a pediatrician with KidCare Pediatrics in Charleston. "Combine that with being indoors and in enclosed areas, people have more exposure to germs."  

As the height of winter cold season draws closer, doctors say prevention is key.  

"Everyone should be receiving a flu vaccine," said Darnell. "Influenza could kill a healthy adult, it could put you out of work for ten days and could put you in the hospital."  

In addition to getting a vaccine, there are other things you can do to keep the sickness away. "Not resting well affects your immunity, [you] need to eat a well balanced diet so that [your] body is well prepared, you need to wash your hands before you eat every time," said Darnell.   Most people come in contact with illnesses at school or around the workplace.

Doctors say keeping your work environment clean drastically lowers chances of sickness.  

"We touch the elevator button, we touch the escalator, we touch the doorknob, we touch the counter tops, anything we touch represents infection," said Darnell.  

Flu season typically hits the hardest in January or February. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said last year's season landed more than 380,000 people in the hospital.