Wednesday Wellness Tips: Stay healthy during cold & flu season

In lieu of the regular RICE & MICE content for some of the off-season, I’m going to do a series on health and wellness. I hope you enjoy it and as always, if you have specific questions, please don’t hesitate to leave comments or send me an email.

This is not intended to be medical advice, nor should it take the place of you consulting a medical provider. Please see your doctor, physician assistant or nurse practitioner before starting any diet or weight loss program.

It’s back to school time with cold and flu season right around the corner. Here are some good tips to help prevent colds and flu.

1. Wash your hands thoroughly and often. You’ll want to wash them for at least 20 seconds with soap and water! If soap and water are unavailable, hand sanitizer is the next best thing.

2. Don’t touch! Our hands touch everything from handrails, to chairs to money and none of that is clean. When you touch your face you are providing transportation for the germs on your hands into your body via your eyes, nose and mouth. The average person touches their face on average 3-to-5 times per minute, which seems like a gross overestimate, until you become conscious of touching your face and you realize that you do indeed touch it a lot.

3. Get plenty of sleep

4. Don’t share food, drinks, or Chap Stick with other people. Have your own tube of toothpaste instead of sharing with everyone in the family.

5. Drink plenty of water. Soda doesn’t count.

6. Clean doorknobs, bathrooms and children’s toys with disinfecting cleaner often. If you travel, bring a pack of Clorox wipes with you to disinfect on the road.

8. Get some fresh air. Stay active and open the windows at home every so often.

9. Get a flu shot. Yes, really. If you can save yourself 2-to-3 weeks of feeling like you have been run over by a truck and are being dragged underneath it, isn’t it worth it? There is a new flu shot formulation for people ages 18-to-64 this year that is injected into the skin rather than muscle and the needle is tiny.

10. Avoid kissing on the lips of you feel yourself getting sick.

11. Stay at home if you are sick.

12. Use paper towels to dry hands when you are sick rather than cloth hand towels.

13. Throw used tissues away.

14. Watch out for double dippers. When enjoying a meal with friends, it’s always best for everyone to scoop out some of that tasty dip onto a plate to avoid food contamination.

15. Finally, keep track of your symptoms. Colds very commonly start out with a bit of a scratchy throat and then symptoms progress over a couple of days, with most resolving in around a week. Antibiotics will not treat a cold. The flu has a fairly sudden onset of fever, aches, chills and tiredness.

  • NJFlyer42

    What a germaphob! How about touch everything and build up your immune system. If you’re healthy, you general won’t get sick. The only things you said worthwhile are drinking water, getting fresh air, and getting good sleep. The flu shot, despite what you read in the mass media, does not work and actually compromises your immune system.

    • Kevin Christmann

      my friend who makes vaccines would disagree with you…

    • pavialax

      I would love to see articles that provide evidence that, “vaccines compromise the immune system.” I’m far from a germaphobe, but seeing 20 patients a day and “touching everything” to build up the immune system is not only irresponsible, but it could put some of my patients at risk.

      Yes, I advocate washing hands and not touching your face with dirty hands – that’s common sense. My knowledge of the flu shot is a result of reading scientific articles as well as experience in my practice, not mass media. I know that I had hundreds of flu cases 3 years ago when the H1N1 outbreak was happening. I know that I encouraged patients to get vaccinated and I know that I had one, just one, case of flu come into my office last year.

      Do a little research on how the immune system actually works and you will learn how the immune system responds to vaccines. Do they make mistakes with vaccines sometimes? Of course they do. Sometimes they get the flu vaccines wrong and a different strain is more prevalent, but that doesn’t mean people should just can the idea of vaccines.

      Remember, vaccines aren’t always about you, they are about the people who have such compromised immune systems from medications and diseases that they are unable to get vaccinated.