Cold and Flu Season Arrives !

by Nathan
Tingen

Tips for staying
healthy during the winter, includes information on SARS and an explanation of
the difference between colds and
flu.

What You
Should Know and Do

How many
colds have you had in your lifetime? Even if you’ve had a lot, chances are
that there are more to come. With more than 200 known viruses responsible for
the common cold, there’s really no telling just how soon you’ll come
in contact with one. While colds can occur at any time of the year, they are far
more likely to occur during the fall and winter. Worse yet, the winter months
also represent the height of the flu
season.

Anyone who has
suffered through the flu or a bad cold doesn’t want to experience another
one anytime soon. While there’s no foolproof way to avoid infection, there
are steps you can take to minimize your potential of getting sick this
winter.


1. Practice good hygiene. Wash
your hands often, especially after touching questionable surfaces or coming into
contact with a person that is sick.
2. Drink plenty of water and other
good fluids to keep yourself hydrated.
3. Maintain a balanced, nutritious
diet with lots of fresh fruits and vegetables.
4. Get adequate rest. A tired body
is more susceptible to attack than a well-rested one.
5. Where possible, limit your
exposure to others who may be sick. Take a few minutes to wipe down common
surface areas such as handrails, doorknobs and sink handles to help slow and
prevent the transmission of
germs.

Getting sick this
season is not a foregone conclusion, so be sure to do what you can to prevent
unwanted illness.

The
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 10 to 20 percent
of Americans come down with the flu during each flu season. And, according to
their records, about 36,000 people die from the flu and its complications every
year.

Illness in
the News

Recent years have
brought to light many worries over illness on the international level. In
February 2003 SARS—severe acute respiratory syndrome—made headlines
worldwide for its flu-like symptoms that hid a more serious ailment. Over 8,000
cases of SARS were documented, resulting in more than 700
deaths.

Although SARS and other
ailments may have captured the headlines lately, seasonal flu is actually a more
immediate concern. Most people recover from the flu relatively easily after
suffering only mild discomfort. Sometimes, however, the effects of the flu are
far more serious. Each year, seasonal flu results in hospital stays for over
100,000 people. While it’s good to be aware of health issues around the
globe, don’t forget about the health concerns in your
neighborhood.

Cold
vs. Flu. What’s the
Difference?

The flu and the
common cold are both respiratory illnesses brought about by viral infections.
Although the viruses that cause them are different, the two illnesses have
similar symptoms. So similar, in fact, that it can be difficult to distinguish
between the two by symptoms
alone.

Colds are the most
common cause of illness in adults and children. Symptoms of a cold will rarely
last more than a few days. The flu is much more than a bad cold and can last
more than a week. Generally, a cold will not produce further complications. The
flu, however, may lead to other serious diseases, and in rare cases, even
death.

Cold
Symptoms

• Mild fever
• Body aches
• Tiredness
• Stuffy or runny
nose
• Sore throat
• Dry cough

Sneezing

Flu
Symptoms

• High fever, chills and
shaking
• Intense generalized muscle
and joint pains
• Weakness and extreme
tiredness
• Sore throat
• Dry cough that later
produces a lot of phlegm.


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Posted: 12/24/2006 at 08:17 AM
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Posted: 12/24/2006 at 08:17 AM
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