Doctors offer tips on how to avoid getting sick

Colds, congestion and coughs. By now, you’ve gotten used to the sounds of each.

Ironically, even Dr. Jane Hess with HCMC’S Brooklyn Park Clinic battles a cough.

“I behave myself at work. I wash my hands and use all the antiseptic that we need, but I go home and catch what comes into my house from my family,” Hess said.

So why is it that everywhere we go, it seems at least one person is sick?

“Every winter we get our peak of dozens of viruses,” Hess explained.

According to Hess, one the viruses currently rearing its ugly head is Respiratory Syncytial Virus.

Although Dr. Frank Rhame of Allina Health’s Uptown Clinic tells FOX 9 the virus is a serious problem in children and a real problem with adults because RSV usually isn’t diagnosed in adults.

“It’s not a virus for which there’s treatment, so we don’t emphasize testing for it as much, but they do in a pediatric context and there’s been a lot of it. It’s because the pediatric patients get bronchiolitis and sometimes need hospitalization, so even though there isn’t a specific treatment, the pediatricians want to know if it’s RSV because they may have to be more worried about what happens to the child.” Rhame said.

The spread of viruses during the winter months is largely because we don’t get as much outdoor air, and as Rhame explains, “a lot of the air we breathe is each other’s air.”

Yet, there is good news is when it comes to the flu.

“We’re seeing a usual winter respiratory illness in patients without a lot of influenza virus. Hopefully that's because people have been getting vaccinated. Still, it’s not too late to get vaccinated because we don't know where this is going to go, but maybe we're going to have a season that's not so bad this year.”

To stop the spread of illness, you know washing your hands will trump hand sanitizers, but doctors suggest you wash with cooler water than you’d prefer. If the water is too hot it will dry your skin. And Hess says chapped hands can absorb more germs. So, be sure you moisturize after you wash.

“You can use coconut oil…any sort of ointment. They're even better than creams, and creams are better than lotions,” Hess said.

“I would say use the [moisturizer] you like,” Rhame said.