Ten Tips To Avoid Illness and Injury this Winter Season from Railyard Urgent Care, Santa Fe, NM

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Co-Owner of Railyard Urgent Care, Dr. Troy Watson on how winter illnesses and injuries can be avoided this winter by following simple guidelines.

"Many winter illnesses and injuries can be avoided by following some fairly simple guidelines to say healthy and well." – Dr. Troy Watson, one co-owner of Railyard Urgent Care Santa Fe, New Mexico’s first walk-in-only urgent care clinic.

Whether it’s winter weather or winter sports, this time of year provides ample opportunity for illness and injury.

“Many winter illnesses and injuries can be avoided by following some fairly simple guidelines to say healthy and well, ” says Dr. Troy Watson, a family physician and co-owner of Railyard Urgent Care, Santa Fe, New Mexico’s first walk-in-only urgent care clinic.

1.    Get A Flu Shot
Influenza outbreaks peak during the months of December through February. These viruses are constantly changing so the CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone six months of age and older as the first and most important step in protecting against this serious disease.

2.    Wash Hands Well and Often
Eighty percent of infectious diseases are transmitted through touch so washing hands frequently with soap and water is the best protection against cold and flu viruses. The use of hand sanitizer is recommended for those times when soap and water aren’t available.

3.    Take Vitamin C
Research shows that Vitamin C can reduce the severity and duration of colds and flu. It protects white blood cells and fortifies the mucous membranes. If one is feeling under the weather, it is best to increase Vitamin C to 1000mg - 3000mg per day.

4.    Stay Hydrated
For the body to fight infection, it needs adequate water. It is important for individuals to drink at least eight eight-ounce glasses of water each day, and not drink too much soda, coffee or sugary juice, to keep the immune system functioning at it’s best.

5.    Use Humidifiers
A 2009 study conducted by the National Academy of Sciences found that flu germs survive and spread more easily in dry air conditions. Humidifiers help people breathe easier by moisturizing the nasal, throat and lung passages, making it easier for air to pass through especially when someone is sick.

6.    Check Heaters
It is essential to check and service heaters in the winter to make sure there are no carbon monoxide leaks. Overexposure to this invisible, odorless, poisonous gas can cause flu-like symptoms, serious sickness and even death. The only sure way to know if carbon monoxide is building up in your home is to install a carbon monoxide detector.

7.    Avoid Falls on Ice
Each winter slip and fall accidents cause serious injuries. Even when surfaces do not look especially icy or slippery, it is very possible that a thin sheet of transparent ice or “Black Ice” is covering a pathway, which is risky. When walking on patches of ice, it is important to take small steps and keep a center of gravity over the front leg. Walk like a penguin and avoiding falling this winter.

8.    Protect Your Feet in Winter Sports
Winter sports can pose a lot of hazards for feet including injury or a potential illness. To prevent frostbite, choose appropriate shoes if feet are going to be exposed to wet snow or cold for an extended period of time.

9.    Wear A Helmet When Skiing
Studies have concluded that helmets reduce the risk of a serious head injury by as much as 60 percent. All recreational skiers and snowboarders should wear safety helmets. To avoid the risk a brain injury this winter, helmets should always be worn during skiing.

10.    Snowstorm Emergency Kits
Create an emergency kit in case of bad weather, one in the house and one in the car. Items to include in the kit are: non-perishable food like protein bars, one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, warm blankets, a first aid kit, flashlights and extra batteries. Being prepared is essential to avoid being stranded this winter.

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Railyard Urgent Care is owned and operated by experienced local physicians Dr. Troy Watson and Dr. Victor Sherman, who have dedicated their careers to serving the diverse communities of Northern New Mexico. Opened in January of 2015, Railyard Urgent Care is Santa Fe’s only dedicated urgent care clinic operating on a solely walk-in basis, seven days a week, to ensure quality medical care with the shortest possible wait times. In addition to excellent urgent care services for adults and children, the state-of-the-art clinic provides on-site labs and digital x-rays, wellness and preventative medicine, seasonal care, occupational health services and flu shots vaccinations. Open daily from 8am-7pm, Railyard Urgent Care is conveniently located at 831 S. St. Francis Drive, offering friendly, bilingual physicians and staff who provide patient-centered care in the heart of Santa Fe. For more information, please visit http://www.railyardurgentcare.com.

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Jennifer Padilla
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