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