Cold and flu season is upon us, so take an ounce of prevention
It's that time of year again - cold and flu season. The sore throat and cough common with a cold and the fatigue and muscle aches associated with the flu can make this time of year miserable for many people. Reduce your chances of sneezing through the season by following these tips to keep you and your family healthy.
There is no cure for the common cold or the flu. However, there are ways to help stop symptoms before they start.
Wash your hands - it's one of the best ways to prevent getting sick. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends scrubbing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. To help children remember, tell them to wash their hands for as long as it takes to sing the "Happy Birthday" song twice. An alcohol-based hand sanitizer can help rub away germs if soap and water are not available.
Strengthen your body's defenses. Exercise at least 30 minutes a day and get enough sleep to help boost your immune system. Eating a well-balanced diet can also help ward off illness.
Avoid people who have a cold or the flu, especially if they have a fever.
Get vaccinated. The best way to prevent getting the flu is to get an influenza vaccine each fall. People who are allergic to eggs or have had a severe reaction in the past should not get a flu shot. If you have questions, consult your health professional.
Take care of yourself
If you do get sick this season, treat your symptoms and get plenty of rest. Stay home from work or school so you don't infect others. In most cases, you will feel better in a few weeks. In some instances, however, flu symptoms can turn serious. Contact your doctor if you experience prolonged fever, symptoms that last for more than 10 days, trouble breathing or pain or pressure in your chest.