Let the the start of spending some close and cozy time around lots of people you don’t know begin!
Lines at the mall, crowded buses and subways, theaters full of people watching the Nutcracker, and the kids’ Christmas plays.
Even if it’s not the Holiday Season, just going out into public these days can be risky, especially if you have a chronic disease process of any kind.
You just never know if the guy behind you that just let loose of a giant sneeze is infectious, or just reacting to all the perfume in the mall air.
To prevent catching other peoples’ germs:
Wash your hands. Carry hand sanitizer and use it after shaking hands, opening bathroom doors, and helping little ones with runny noses.
Keep your immune system up: Get your rest, eat lots of berries, and do a little exercise -20 minutes or so -each day.
Sometimes it’s easy to go, go, go all day and forget to hydrate. Water is best, but be sure and drink something at least every 2 hours.
If you feel like you are coming down with something, decide if it’s the flu or just a cold. Generally, flu is characterized by sudden onset of fever, chills, and whole-body aching all over.
A sore throat and stuffy nose and sneezing is usually a cold.
If you’re not sure, i.e. you have all of the above symptoms, see a doctor if you can. If you’re pretty sure it’s the flu, and you are weak, frail, or have other health issues, get seen by a doctor. The flu can turn into a lot more very quickly, and you want to rule out any bacterial invasion on top of a viral exposure.
Tamiflu: should you or shouldn’t you?
According to the manufacturer, Tamiflu, when taken within the first 48 hours of flu symptoms, shortens the average flu time by 30%, or 1.3 days. That means the average flu bout is only 5 days or so. The side effects are nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. I think I’d rather stay in bed for an extra day with some aches and pains, rather than trek to the doctor’s office, get the medication, then spend the next 2 days running to the bathroom. Just my opinion.
What about Zinc?
Zinc has been shown to shorten the duration of a cold. Zinc lozenges are easy to take (For children, be sure and read the label for safety), and have minimal side effects.
What if you already caught something?
There are always the old standby’s: Chicken soup, tea with honey and lemon, cough syrups. If you have a lot of chest congestion, choose a cough syrup with an expectorant. If you just want to sleep through the night, plain honey before bed is just as good. A saline nasal spray or a neti pot can help with nasal congestion.
The best defense is a good offense: get your flu shot, stay away from sick people, wash your hands often, and don’t let people cough and sneeze all over you.