Prevention is Key- Staying Healthy During Cough & Cold Season

Prevention is Key: Tips & Tricks for Staying Healthy During Cough and Cold Season

Cold and flu season is upon us. As a physician, an important part of my job is helping patients get well and stay healthy. Another important job I have though is making sure myself, my staff and my clinic stay healthy by preventing the spread of germs in an environment frequented by sick people. One way to stay healthy is through prevention. Whether it is at home, work, or school, there is plenty of ways to prevent yourself or your friends and family from getting sick. You may already know a few ways to avoid getting sick; hand washing, getting enough sleep, hydration—but there are others you may not have thought of. When’s the last time you disinfected your smartphone, for example? Below are some tips to keep your immune system strong.

Rethink that extra drink. 

You don’t have to skip that glass of wine with dinner, but think twice before finishing the whole bottle. According to the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, studies have shown that excessive alcohol suppresses the immune system by reducing your body’s ability to fight bacteria. For this reason, it is best to stick to a maximum of 2-3 alcoholic drinks a day. Alcohol is also dehydrating and can disrupt your sleep, which are two more ways to lower your immune defences. Dehydration also prevents the body from maintaining the natural moisture within the mouth and airways. If that moisture barrier breaks down, bacteria just has another way to get in to your system.

Steer clear of sugar.

Resist reaching for that soda, or cookie or candy bar- especially during cold and flu season. Similar to alcohol, sugar slows your body’s defences from destroying bacteria and viruses. Women should aim for 6 teaspoons or fewer a day, and 9 teaspoons or fewer for men. For reference, a 12-ounce can of soda contains about 10 teaspoons of sugar.

Get vaccinated already.

It’s not possible to predict what an annual flu season will look like. While flu season occurs annually, the timing, severity, and length varies each year. Since the virus changes and mutates so quickly, you need to be vaccinated every year. Last years vaccine will not fight off this year’s viruses. Also, getting the flu shot not only protects yourself, but all your loved ones as well. If you get sick, someone you love that is less healthy will likely get sick and could die from complications. So don’t hesitate and get your flu shot when it becomes available!

Wash everything you touch.

How often do you clean your phones, microwave, keyboard, doorknobs, light switches, bed rails, remote controls, and children’s toys? Not often enough, likely. Use soap and water or alcohol-based disinfecting wipes during your regular cleaning—even more often during cold and flu season—to stop the spread of germs on these high-touch surfaces.

When was the last time that you washed your washing machine? Bacteria love warm, dark, and moist places, so your washing machine could harbour germs, especially over time. Put two tablespoons of white vinegar where the detergent usually goes, and run the “clean” cycle. This will eliminate some of the bacteria inside of the machine.

Don’t even think about biting your nails.

Your fingers are covered in germs that can infect simple areas, like your eyes, nose, and throat. Germs build up underneath your nails, and biting them is a surefire way to let bacteria into your body.

Hold your breath

Most germs enter your body through your nose or mouth. If you’re around someone who is sick, or next to someone who sneezes, avoid taking big inhalations. A recent study released from MIT revealed that coughs and sneezes—and their potentially infectious droplets—travel much farther distances than previously thought. A good rule of thumb: If you see or hear someone sneeze nearby, hold your breath for 10 to 15 seconds or turn away.

Get some fresh air even when it’s freezing out.

Getting some fresh air is one of the oldest pieces of health advice. One of the reasons we get sick when it’s colder is because we’re sharing more recycled air. Opening a window or, better yet, walking out your front door (just be sure to bundle up) can help prevent you from getting sick. Bundling up in cold weather is also important because being exposed to cold for long periods of time slows down your body’s immune system. Also invest in an air purifier. There are some filter-less models on the market designed specifically to remove or inactivate bacteria and viruses.

Kitchener Flu Clinic- Kitchener Urgent Care

Flu Season is Just Around the Corner. Are You Prepared?

Our Kitchener urgent care Summer’s coming to an end, and you know what that means: crisp Autumn afternoons, pumpkin spiced lattes, and increased incidences of influenza.

Kitchener Flu Shot Clinic

Each year Canada experiences a flu outbreak, with flu season season occuring between October and May. The influenza virus(es) changes every season, so it is very important to get vaccinated every year.  For example, this year, the main strain of the virus is completely different than last year, so the antibodies you acquired from last year’s vaccination may not be effective against this year’s strain.  Research has shown that resistance (either via natural methods or vaccination) to influenza decreases each year, further supporting yearly vaccinations.

Here’s what you need to know about the flu and how to prepare for the upcoming 2015-2016 flu season at our Kitchener urgent care clinic:

What is Influenza?

Influenza is a common viral infection. Typically, the virus is short-term and can be self-diagnosed and self-treated. Influenza is highly contagious, so it spreads easily.

How Can I Prepare for Flu Season

Each year, it’s recommends that all individuals over the age of six months receive a flu vaccine, available at your local urgent care clinic. Ideally, you should get the vaccine before October, when flu season is said to begin.

As part of your preventative measures, the CDC recommends engaging in healthy actions, such as keeping away from sick people and washing your hands frequently.

What are symptoms of the flu?

Symptoms of influenza include but are not limited to fever, coughs, congestion, fatigue, soreness and headaches.

What if I get the flu?

In most cases, having the flu is common and with proper rest and treatment, symptoms should abate within days. If you feel flu-like symptoms, contact your doctor or our Kitchener urgent care clinic.

At your appointment, your doctor will usually prescribe you antiviral prescription drugs to treat your illness. For high-risk individuals, such as children under the age of two, adults over 65, pregnant women and already sick individuals, anti-viral drugs are an absolute must.

Along with prescription medication, bed rest and an adequate consumption of fluids is essential to a speedy recovery.

Don’t let this flu season make you feel under the weather. For more information, visit the CDC’s website or contact your local urgent care clinic.

Flu season is just around the corner: It typically begins in October or November, peaks in January or February and can continue through May.  Given that it takes about two weeks for the vaccination to build the antibodies necessary for protection, what better time than now to get vaccinated?


Certain populations of people are more susceptible to the flu and should be sure to obtain a vaccination each and every year.  On the other hand, there are some groups who should not receive a vaccination.

Keep in mind that an influenza infection affects everyone differently; for one person it could just be a fever and achy body, bur for another, it could mean hospitalization or even death.  As a general rule, anyone over 6 months of age should get vaccinated.

If you have certain medical conditions (e.g. asthma, lung disease, diabetes), are pregnant, are 65 years or older or live with/care for others who are at a high risk of contracting influenza, you should especially get an influenza vaccination.

If, however, you are allergic to eggs, have had a severe reaction to a previous influenza vaccination, are younger than 6 months, have a history of Guillain-Barre Syndrome or currently have an illness which includes fever, you should not get vaccinated without first consulting your physician.

However, regardless of how well the vaccine corresponds with the circulating strains, it is still important to get vaccinated to help protect yourself and to prevent any flu-related complications.  As always, speak with your physician before obtaining a vaccination to ensure it is a safe option for you.

Onyx: Kitchener Urgent Care After Hours

Kitchener Urgent Care

Onyx Urgent Care is a Kitchener urgent care clinic that offers solely after-hours medical attention. Onyx Urgent Care opened on July 8 2015. The urgent care clinic is located on 580 Lancaster St West, in Kitchener. It will be staffed solely by physicians with extensive experience in emergency medicine. This enables patients to receive the same quality of care as an emergency department. The clinic is directly on a bus route.

Grand River Hospital has some of the highest wait-times in the entire country, especially during the evening. Since many people in the ER are often there because they couldn’t make it in to see their regular doctor or visit a walk-in clinic during the day- we’ve created an evening clinic that enables patients to have their medical needs met in a much, much faster manner.

What is an Urgent Care Clinic

Urgent care clinics are similar to walk-in clinics with enhanced capabilities. Patients are given the same experience that they would receive at a walk-in clinic, in that they are typically treated on a first come first serve basis, with the exceptions of scenarios requiring immediate medical attention. They are able to treat more serious illnesses and injuries, and are designed with the purpose of reducing the amount of patients in an emergency department at a given time. An urgent care facility is equipped to handle a higher level of acuity; they can offer a wider range of treatments extending to fractures, lacerations, and diagnostic equipment for heart problems. We also offer treatments for common, non-life threatening conditions. These can include minor injuries like burns and sprains, and minor infections such as bladder, pink eye, sinus and sore throat, skin rashes, and upset stomachs. The clinic will also offer vaccinations, pregnancy tests, and routine physicals.

Kitchener Urgent Care Clinic Offering After Hours Medical Care

Additional Services

Our Kitchener urgent care clinic will be open Monday through Friday, from 6pm-11pm. The location also offers an on-site, after-hours pharmacy and a physiotherapy clinic. A separate entrance to the building houses Onyx Medical Aesthetics- one of the top laser tattoo removal clinics in North America.