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Our mothers had it right when it comes to avoiding colds and flu: Cover your mouth, eat chicken soup and wear your coat. But just because Mom said to rest and down glass after glass of orange juice doesn’t mean those are guaranteed cures.
Below are the top 10 ways to survive cold and flu season….

  1. WASHING WORKS: One sure way to reduce your risk of getting sick is keeping your hands clean. Most cold and flu viruses are spread by direct contact: To get sick you have to touch something contaminated by someone who already has the virus. Blankets and pillows on airplanes are notorious for harboring nasty bugs, health clubs that don’t scrub down their equipment and television remotes are also havens for viruses. The CDC recommends a 20 second scrImage of nurse.ub-about the time it takes to sing the alphabet song. Also keep a hand-sanitizing gel with you and use it frequently.
  2. HANDS OFF: Beware of contaminated surfaces, fixtures and other shared objects. Viruses are spread by bringing your now-contaminated hands into contact with mucous membranes in your mouth, nose or eyes. From there, the viruses scoot into your throat, nose and sinuses.
  3. GET A SHOT: The elderly, young children and diabetics and for those whose immune system is weak – a flu shot can be a life safer. Doctors recommend the shot for all age groups.
  4. STAY HOME: If you’re the one who’s sick, there’s no reason to spread the misery. Take precautionary measures to limit other people’s exposure. Covering your mouth and nose, hand wash frequently, use disposable tissue, cough into your elbow not your arm.
  5. CHECK YOUR MEDICINE CABINET: You can try Tylenol to help dull aches and pains. Vitamin C has been used by soldiers, athletes in cold temperatures and under stressful situations seem to benefit and prevent colds by 50%.
  6. ABANDON THE GYM: You can’t sweat out a cold by exercising. It makes matters worse. Sweating causes dehydration, exercise worsens the muscle soreness and aching. Take it easy.
  7. SIP THE SOUP: Most warm soups provide a respite from the symptoms of colds or flu, soothing the throat and opening up sinus passages. Chicken soup contains a number of anti-inflammatory substances. It provides needed fluid.
  8. STAY WARM: Winter is a time when viruses tend to spread. Stress that can come from chronic cold exposure may lower your immune system, making you more vulnerable to viruses. So mom was right: pull out the hats and gloves.
  9. CALL YOU’RE DOCTOR: While most colds go away without incident within days or weeks, sometimes they do pave the way for other problems like sinus or ear infections and bronchitis. Ring the doctor if you cold become severe, if you have a high fever, ear pain, a sinus headache, or a cough that produces green or brown sputum.
  10. DO AS YOUR MOTHER SAYS: Eat lots of fruits and vegetables, which boost the immune system, exercise at least 30 minutes a day, get 7-8 hours of sleep each night, and try to keep the stress level down.

..eat veggies

©2007 St. James Catholic Church, Hopewell, VA