Staying Safe During Cold and Flu Season
When the cold weather moves in, so does cold and flu season. For people living with a UCD, it’s important to keep the body’s immune system from being weakened by viruses and germs that are common during the fall and winter seasons. Getting sick may trigger ammonia levels to start rising to toxic levels. As one mother of a daughter living with a UCD shares, “When November rolls around, we’re on high alert for her classmates coughing and sniffling because a simple cold could turn into something dangerous for her.”
Here are a few ways to help avoid getting sick during this time of year:
- Stay home: Whether it’s a coworker sneezing or a stomach bug that’s running through the classroom, stay away from others who are sick by staying home. Work from home or call for school assignments so nothing is missed, except for the chance of getting sick.
- Get vaccinated: Influenza, or the flu, is a serious and potentially deadly disease, especially when living with a UCD. A seasonal flu shot can help protect the body from the virus. Encouraging all members of the family to get a flu shot can lower the chances of spreading the virus. For more information about getting vaccinated against the flu, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- Stay hydrated: It’s important to stay hydrated when cold or flu symptoms hit, especially if they include fever or vomiting. Drinking plenty of fluids, including water or Gatorade™, can help replace those lost fluids and can help ease congestion.
- Take vitamins: Restricting amino acids too much could strip the body of essential nutrients and its ability to fight off sickness. Multivitamins can help replace lost vitamins and/or minerals that are necessary for staying healthy.
- Wash hands: Nothing is easier to keep germs away than washing your hands. Teaching children early to wash hands after class activities, using the bathroom, and sneezing or coughing cuts down on spreading germs and helps keep everyone from getting sick. Start promoting hand washing with these 5 simple steps: 1. Wet. 2. Lather. 3. Scrub. 4. Rinse. 5. Dry.
Ammonia levels are different for every person living with a UCD. Talk to your doctor before starting taking supplements or getting vaccinations.