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The Dos and Don’ts of Colds and The Flu

Winter brings a lot of things: holidays, snow, chilly temperatures and, unfortunately, cold and flu season. The pesky viruses behind these ailments can make you feel miserable and really put a damper on your beginning-of-the-year plans.

cold and flu

When you come down with a case of the sniffles, develop a cough, or feel achey all over it can be hard to figure out if you have a cold, the flu, or something else entirely. We’ve broken down the facts about this season’s bugs to help keep you healthy.

The Flu
(caused by influenza viruses)

Symptoms:

  • Fever, potentially high
  • Cough
  • Runny nose/stuffiness
  • Sore throat
  • Headache
  • Muscle Aches
  • Lethargy

Treatment:

DON’T mistake the flu for a bad cold. Though symptoms are similar, usually the flu feels worse than your average cold.

DO avoid cold medications if you have the flu. They won’t help much with your symptoms since the flu and colds are caused by different viruses.

DON’T spread the virus to friends, family, and coworkers. If you think you have the flu it’s best to stay home. If you have a fever, stay home until you’re fever free for 24 hours.

DO get the flu vaccine. Contrary to what you may have heard, getting the vaccine will not give you the flu.

 

Colds
(Most commonly caused by the rhinovirus, but a cold can be caused by multiple different viruses.)

Symptoms:

  • Sneezing
  • Runny nose/stuffiness
  • Sore throat
  • Coughing
  • Watery Eyes
  • Mild Headache
  • Mild Body Aches

Treatment:

DON’T take antibiotics. They will not help a cold; usually over the counter medication will alleviate suffering from symptoms.

DO sip on chicken soup. It has been shown to help with the common cold.

DON’T avoid the outdoors. Cold weather does not cause colds, though cold and dry conditions can make you more susceptible.

DO continue to exercise. Contrary to popular belief, light to moderate exercise can actually help you get over a cold sooner.

Ultimately, if you’re feeling under the weather the best things you can do is stay home and get some rest. Both colds and the flu are contagious and spread easily from person to person. Your best defense is to wash your hands frequently, especially if you’ve come in contact with someone who may have the cold or flu. Exercising regularly, staying hydrated, and getting enough Vitamin C in your diet can also help prevent illness.

In most cases, neither the flu nor a cold requires a trip to the doctor’s office. However, if you experience a high fever, difficulty breathing, your symptoms last for more than 10 days, or you’re not getting relief from over the counter medication, it’s time to see your doctor.

Also Read:

Top 5 Foods to Prevent Flu and Cold

The Hottest Fitness Trends of 2013 – and a Preview of 2014

Detox in the New Year With a Juice Cleanse

January 10th, 2014

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