Make winter easier on yourself

Editorial: Winter is in full effect in Franklin County. Last week, we got pelted by a winter storm that dropped five inches or more in places throughout the county, which was perfect timing considering the groundhog saw his shadow just hours before.

Influenza season has also reared its ugly head, as Franklin General Hospital has been inundated with patients. Last week, the hospital added restrictions on visitors to try to curb the spread of the flu.

The flu and winter storms go hand in hand, as it seems both seasons intersect. Nasal and stomach affliction coupled with the doldrums of constant snow, freezing temperatures and bleak skies can make winter feel endless and hopeless. But as long as winter is here, it's wise to be mindful of what comes with it and take steps to make it as easy as possible to get through.

For the flu, always remember to cover coughs and sneezes. If you're sick and running a fever, stay home - don't go to work and definitely don't go to the grocery store. If you haven't come down with the flu yet, always make sure to wash your hands with soap and water when possible, or use hand sanitizer in a pinch. Regular hand washing is an important part of stopping the spread of the flu. If you do get sick, hydrate and rest. And, again, stay home.

Even without worrying about getting sick, winter still comes with an abundance of frustrations. Driving becomes treacherous and wholly unenjoyable. Motorists are advised to slow down, leave plenty of space between vehicles and always make sure the car is filled with gas. One thing most traffic and law enforcement officials will tell motorists during winter weather is to not be too brave. Don't drive if possible, but allow plenty of time to get from one place to another if traveling is necessary. Always make sure to have an emergency kit with more warm clothing, water and blankets packed and have phones charged in case of a breakdown or accident.

Last, but not least, be patient with road crews. When a storm hits, crews are tasked with working around the clock in poor conditions to clean roads to the best of their abilities so you and I can get from Point A to Point B. Keeping up with winter's fury, especially when it's as constant as it has been, is an unenviable task. If you're road isn't plowed, be patient. Navigating countless miles of roads in winter conditions takes time.

So while winter seems like it's taking forever to move out, there are ways to make it easier on yourselves. It doesn't appear to be leaving anytime soon, so why not make sure it's a little bit more bearable while it's here?