Health & Information
Autumn Health and Safety Tips
Fall into good habits this autumn! Follow these tips to help you and your family stay safe and healthy.
Keep your kids safe and healthy.
Get involved with your kids’ activities at home and at school to help ensure they are safe and healthy.
Autumn Games and Health Tips for Kids and Parents
- Autumn often requires us to make changes in our lifestyle or routine due to weather, school activities, and upcoming holidays. Create habits to help you and your children stay healthy and safe throughout your lives. Make fall yard work fun. Have kids come up with different ways to pick up leaves or pine cones (such as squatting, bending, leaning, stretching, or balancing on one foot). Sing, dance, and explore. Provide kids with rakes and other tools that are kid-sized for comfort and safety. For indoor fun, play board games and computer games that encourage physical activity. Have a song-and-dance talent show. Draw, color, and explore with health in mind. Remember that children and adolescents should be active for at least 1 hour a day, and adults for at least 2½ hours a week. Apply sunscreen and insect repellent to protect you and your family from the sun, mosquitoes, and ticks, when appropriate.
Autumn Tips to Help Keep You Healthy
- Regular physical activity helps improve your overall health and fitness, and reduces your risk for many chronic diseases.
- Fitting regular exercise into your daily schedule may seem difficult at first, but the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans are more flexible than ever, giving you the freedom to reach your physical activity goals through different types and amounts of activities each week. It's easier than you think!
Take steps to prevent the flu.
The single best way to protect against the flu is to get vaccinated each year in the fall. Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Wash your hands often. Stay home if you get sick.
Flu Season Is Around the Corner
- Seasonal Flu Vaccination
- Take 3 Actions to Fight the Flu
- Flu is a serious contagious disease that can lead to hospitalization and even death.
CDC urges you to take the following actions to protect yourself and others from influenza (the flu):[Step One]
Take time to get a flu vaccine.
CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine as the first and most important step in protecting against flu viruses.[Step Two]
While there are many different flu viruses, a flu vaccine protects against the viruses that research suggests will be most common. (See Vaccine Virus Selection for this season’s vaccine composition.)
Flu vaccination can reduce flu illnesses, doctors’ visits, and missed work and school due to flu, as well as prevent flu-related hospitalizations and deaths.
Everyone 6 months of age and older should get a flu vaccine as soon as the current season's vaccines are available.
Vaccination of high risk persons is especially important to decrease their risk of severe flu illness.
People at high risk of serious flu complications include young children, pregnant women, people with chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes or heart and lung disease and people 65 years and older.
Vaccination also is important for health care workers, and other people who live with or care for high risk people to keep from spreading flu to them.
Children younger than 6 months are at high risk of serious flu illness, but are too young to be vaccinated. People who care for infants should be vaccinated instead.
Take everyday preventive actions to stop the spread of germs.Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.[Step 3]
If you are sick with flu-like illness, CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities. (Your fever should be gone for 24 hours without the use of a fever-reducing medicine.)
Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.
Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs like the flu.
Take flu antiviral drugs if your doctor prescribes them.If you get the flu, antiviral drugs can be used to treat your illness.
Antiviral drugs are different from antibiotics. They are prescription medicines (pills, liquid or an inhaled powder) and are not available over-the-counter.
Antiviral drugs can make illness milder and shorten the time you are sick. They may also prevent serious flu complications. For people with high risk factors[702 KB, 2 pages], treatment with an antiviral drug can mean the difference between having a milder illness versus a very serious illness that could result in a hospital stay.
Studies show that flu antiviral drugs work best for treatment when they are started within 2 days of getting sick, but starting them later can still be helpful, especially if the sick person has a high-risk health condition or is very sick from the flu. Follow your doctor’s instructions for taking this drug.
Flu-like symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Some people also may have vomiting and diarrhea. People may be infected with the flu, and have respiratory symptoms without a fever.
Get smart about antibiotics.
- Antibiotics can cure bacterial infections, but not viral infections. The common cold and the flu are viral infections, so avoid using antibiotics if you have one of these. Using antibiotics when they are not needed causes some bacteria to become resistant to the antibiotic, and therefore stronger and harder to kill. See your doctor or nurse to find out if your illness is bacterial or viral.
Test and replace batteries.
- Check or replace carbon monoxide batteries twice a year: when you change the time on your clocks each spring and fall. Replace smoke alarm alkaline batteries at least once a year. Test alarms every month to ensure they work properly.
Keep food safe.
- Food is center stage during the holidays. Be sure to keep it safe by following basic food safety steps. Clean hands and surfaces often. Separate foods to avoid cross-contamination. Cook to proper temperatures. Chill promptly.
Learn your family history.
- National Family History Day is observed on Thanksgiving Day. Over the holiday or at another family gathering, talk about and write down the health conditions that run in your family. Learning about your family's health history can help you take steps to ensure a longer, healthier future together.
Be prepared for cold weather.
- Exposure to cold temperatures can cause serious health problems. Infants and the elderly are particularly at risk, but anyone can be affected. Know how to prevent health problems and what to do if a cold-weather emergency arises. Remember that using space heaters and fireplaces can increase the risk of household fires and carbon monoxide poisoning.
Don’t drink and drive.
- Alcohol use impairs skills needed to drive a car safely. It slows reaction time and impairs judgment and coordination. Alcohol-related motor vehicle crashes kill someone every 48 minutes. Don’t drink and drive, and don’t let others drink and drive.
Wash your hands.
- Keeping hands clean is one of the most important steps you can take to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others. It’s best to wash your hands with soap and clean running water for 20 seconds. If that’s not possible, use alcohol-based hand rubs.