This is the time of year where we become more prone to catching a cold or the flu. So, is there something that you and I can do to help avoid these dreaded viruses this season?

  1. Avoid close contact with those who are already sick and limit your contact with others if you’re sick
  2. Get the flu shot
  3. Wash your hands and keep them away from your face to avoid spreading germs
  4. Eat healthy foods – vegetables and fruits support and improve your immune system
  5. Work out – working out regularly helps to enhance your immune function   
  6. Cover your mouth and nose if you cough or sneeze and ask others to do the same
  7. Disinfect your environment
  8. If you feel a cold or flu coming on, stay home and get some rest
  9. If you already have the flu drink plenty of liquids and treat symptoms with over-the-counter medications

How do I know if I have the cold or flu?

Colds generally come on more gradually than the flu, which can appear suddenly.

Flu symptoms often include:

  • A stuffy and/or runny nose, sore throat and cough
  • Chills and fevers
  • Severe body aches and fatigue are often common
  • A moderate to high fever, although not everyone will get a fever
  • When you have the flu you can sometimes develop complications that include pneumonia or bacterial infections.

Flu symptoms come on quickly and can be severe and it usually lasts 1 to 2 weeks.   

It can also be dangerous if not taken care of. During the 2015-2016 flu season the CDC estimated that 310,000 people were hospitalized for flu-related illness. In 2014-2015 an estimated 710,000 people were hospitalized. The CDC estimates that since 2010 there have been between 12,000 – 56,000 flu related deaths.

Make sure you contact a physician or go to an urgent care if your symptoms continue to get worse.

Common cold symptoms include:

  • A stuffy and/or runny nose and sore throat
  • Body aches that are usually mild
  • Cough and sneezing
  • Headaches, mild body aches and tiredness
  • Serious complications are rare

Colds come on gradually over a few days and are often milder than the flu. They usually get better in 7 to 10 days, although symptoms can last for up to 2 weeks. Bronchitis and Streep throat often occur while suffering from a cold. Make sure to contact a physician or go to an urgent care if your symptoms continue to get worse.

Good luck staying well this season!