Sunday, February 14, 2010

Fighting Cold and Flu Season

Every year millions of people suffer during cold and flue season. What’s the difference between a cold and flu? How do you stay healthy?

Colds and flues often have similar symptoms but the main difference is, you will feel the effects of flu much faster than a cold. Some symptoms are more dominant in one or the other, in a flu you usually suffer from fever ranging from 100°-102° F lasting 3-4 days, on the other hand colds usually do non consist of fevers. Headaches are also more dominant in flues. General aches and pains are exhibited in both, although, flu aches and pains are often more severe. Some effects more associated with the colds are stuffy nose, sneezing and sore throat. Finally, both colds and flues can exhibit a various range of chest discomfort and coughing.

Never getting sick is just as important as getting better after you become sick. Here are a few simple ways to fight cold and flu season. The first tip is probably the best known, the flu shot. Before agreeing to get the shot, make sure to ask your doctor about the pros and cons of the flue shot. Another way to improve health is, wash your hands. This seems like an obvious rule but most people don’t wash their hands often enough or long enough. Make sure to wash your hands after shaking other people’s hands, being close to sick people, blowing your nose, coughing, sneezing and before you eat. You should always try to wash your hands in warm water and soap for periods long enough to sing “Happy Birthday” twice. When coughing or sneezing, cover your mouth with a tissue then throw the tissue away promptly. If you don’t have a tissue handy, cough or sneeze into the crook of your elbow and never on your hands. Do not touch you face. Try to avoid large groups of people. Make sure to get enough sleep so that your body doesn’t get tired. To prevent tiredness, manage your stress level. Don’t share anything unless is has been disinfected. Sharing tools, phones, and keyboards can spread germs around. Make sure to clean each of these items before use.

Food can also greatly affect the battle against cold and flu season. Some much needed ingredients to a healthy diet can be gained by crushing garlic with a flat side of a knife to release liquid before adding to meals, eat lots of dairy products including cheese, eat fruits and vegetables, (especially carrots, peas, broccoli, sweet potatoes, citrus fruits, tomatoes, bell peppers). A few other tings add to the diet include meat, peanuts, and beans. Certain foods can also help to relieve symptoms. Fresh ginger root in a ginger tea can decrease nausea, honey helps suppress coughing, and warm drinks increase nasal flow relieving various cold symptoms. Echinacea, taken in pill form, if used at the first sign of a cold reduces most symptoms.

Even though you feel better you need to keep taking care of yourself for a few days. Make sure to get plenty of rest. Drink lots of fluids. Use a humidifier to help keep you nose from drying out, and work out (studies have show that moderate physical activity strengthens the immune system.

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