Let's review some interesting facts about colds and flu! Then let's become ambassadors for eliminating many of the common reasons that colds seem to spread.
Did you know:
- Colds are minor infections of the nose and throat caused by more than 200 different viruses...
- A cold may last for about one week, but some colds last longer, especially in children, the elderly and those in poor health.
- In the United States, colds account for more visits to the doctor than any other condition.
- Adults get an average of two to four colds per year, mostly between September and May.
- Young children suffer from an average of six to eight colds per year.
- Colds are highly contagious. They most often spread when droplets of fluid that contain a cold virus are transferred by touch. These droplets may also be inhaled.
How to Avoid Catching a Cold or the Flu
The #1 way to keep from getting a cold or the flu, is to wash your hands. Wash them every time you are out and come back home. All hard surfaces like door handles, shopping carts and counters are breeding places for cold germs. Even breathing next to someone who has a cold can be the reason you get sick. Covering your mouth and nose with a handkerchief when sneezing or coughing is advisable. If you don't have a Kleenex handy, then cough or sneeze into your bent arm. The germs will land inside your elbow and not on your hands.
Using your hand as a shield only makes it worse because now everything that you touch is germ laden. Don't do that!
When I was working in the hospitals, they encouraged everyone to use the hand sanitizers often. It worked well in that environment and I know that they would work well in your family too. Have some hand sanitizer in your purse or backpack at all times. Train yourself to keep your hands away from your mouth and nose. If you must touch your own face, use sanitizer before you blow your own nose or wipe your eyes. When you get home wash your hands well.
If you still manage to get a cold after all of the precautions have been taken, make sure you have some gentle, but effective Vicks VapoRub on hand to help with breathing and keeping your nasal passages open. This happens to be my favorite brand, but there are others. Or you can also get herbal rubs to help with breathing and sinuses. Eucalyptus and menthol are the active ingredients in most rubs.
Keep Kleenex or paper hankies available and if your nose is really sore from wiping and blowing, have a good scent free lotion or cream to keep the skin moist.
If your cold is bad enough, please learn to stay home until you are feeling better. Grab your favorite blanket and teddy bear and just rest. Work will get along without you for a day or two. Even your boss would rather see you at home, getting better, than coming in to work to make everyone else sick.
Because the average cold is a virus related illness, there are no magic pills that will make you feel better. Treating the symptoms is your only way to the road to recovery. Drink lots of fluids to keep you hydrated. Even if you lose your appetite, you should eat healthy meals. Soups and stews are great comfort food and easy to down with a sore throat. Taking a good multivitamin even when you are healthy is a good idea.
If your cold seems to be getting worse instead of better, then you might want to give your doctor a call. If you have problems breathing, pain in your chest, high fever or pain in your ears, then a trip to the doctor is a good idea. Sometimes a simple cold can lead to other ailments that will require medical help.
I hope that knowing the facts about colds and flu help you and your family get through the coming winter months!
***Olivia is not a medical practitioner and this information is for your benefit. If you are sick and not sure if it's a cold or a bacteria infection, call your doctor!
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