Tips to Protect Yourself Against the Cold and Flu This Season

The Difference Between the Cold and Flu

Now that fall is here, it is officially cold and flu season. These two terms are often group together, but they are very different. Only influenza viruses can cause the flu, but there are many viruses that can cause a cold. Typically flu symptoms include a fever and severe body aches. The flu can even lead to more serious complications such as pneumonia and bacterial infections. Fevers and body aches are less common in colds. Cold symptoms will usually include a stuffy or runny nose, coughing, sneezing or a sore throat. Although there is no sure-fire way to prevent catching a cold or the flu, here are some tips from Live Science that can help reduce your risk of getting sick and help you enjoy the season!

Tips to Stay Healthy

  1. Get your annual flu shot. According to the updated CDC 2017-2018 Influenza Season page, getting the flu shot is the best way to protect yourself from the flu. For this season, it is recommended to get the injectable flu shot and not the nasal spray. The age recommendation for the flu shot has also changed to 6 months and older as opposed to 3 years and older. For the best protection, you should get a flu vaccine by the end of October.
  2. Wash your hands often. Use soap and water, and scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water aren’t available, use alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol. This will help prevent the spread of viruses that cause the cold and flu.
  3. Make sure to get enough sleep. Studies have found that not getting the recommended 7-8 hours of sleep a night is linked with an increased risk of catching a cold or the flu.
  4. Exercise regularly and maintain your healthy diet. This will help keep your immune system strong. Also, according to a 2010 study, working out on a regular basis may lower your risk of catching a cold, or at least lower your duration of cold symptoms.

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