Posts Tagged ‘handwashing’

Cold vs. Flu: Beating Them Both With MediLodge Wellness

Upper respiratory infections are very common, especially in the colder months and when seasons are changing.  The cold and the flu (influenza) are caused by many different types of viruses.  The common cold usually affects your nose, throat and lungs.  Influenza brings fever,aches and pains in addition to the typical cold symptoms.  Influenza is not the same as the “stomach flu” which are viruses that make you experience nausea, diarrhea and vomiting.cold v flu

Head Cold Symptoms

Cold symptoms start gradually.  You may feel slight chills, occasional sneezing, watery eyes or scratchy throat.   It may take at least two to three days before you realize you actually have a cold.

Treating A Head Cold

Drink plenty of water or broth, but avoid soda, Gatorade or fruit juices.  The fluids high in sugar may give you diarrhea.  Use steam from the shower or a cool room vaporizer to sooth and help clear your stuffy nose.  Lotion or Vaseline can be used on the outside of the nose.  Saline nasal spray can relieve soreness inside the nose.  If you use oxygen, only use a water-soluble gel (KY) both inside and outside the nose.

Check with your doctor before using any over the counter antihistamines or cold/cough remedies as these medications will increase your heart rate for several days after using them.

If you have a cough and sore throat, gargle with salt water (¼ teaspoon salt to ½ cup water), use cough lozenges and cough medication as directed.  Too much cough medication may cause increased heart rate, dizziness and nausea.

Most colds will resolve in seven to ten days after symptoms first occur.  If symptoms last longer, you develop a temperature greater than 100.4 Fahrenheit, are coughing up yellow-green sputum, have a severe sore throat, earache or shortness of breath and chest pain, see your physician.

Signs Of Influenza (Flu)

Flu causing viruses attack your nose, throat and lungs.  The symptoms come on very suddenly, such as fatigue and coughing.  Other symptoms are fever, headache, tiredness, sore throat, runny nose and muscle aches.  The acute symptoms last for a week, but the after effects can linger for over two weeks.  You  are unable to perform any normal daily activities with the flu because you feel completely worn out.

Treating The Flu

When flu symptoms first start, stay at home and call your doctor’s office.  The doctor may be able to prescribe medication that will help resolve the symptoms faster.  It is fine to take acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Motrin) for fever reduction and aches and pains, but remember not to give children aspirin as it can cause Reye’s Syndrome.

Drink at least six to eight full glasses of water daily, rest in bed and eat small frequent meals.  If your fever is over 101 Fahrenheit, you are dizzy, light-headed or short of breath, call the doctor immediately.handwashing

Influenza is spread through droplets from your lungs.  It can spread when someone with the flu coughs, sneezes, laughs or even talks.  If you are in a weakened state it can easily cause bronchitis or pneumonia with very serious consequences.

Prevention:  Colds and Flu

Proper hand washing with soap and water by scrubbing with a generous lather for 15 to 30 seconds, rinsing with the fingers held down, drying with clean paper towel and turning the tap off and opening the door with the towel are the first steps to preventing the spread of germs of any kind.  Covering your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing with a tissue, handkerchief or even the crook of your arm are other steps you can take to stop the spread of germs.  Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth as well.

It is okay to use alcohol-based cleanser that is at least 60% alcohol ( most are 68%) when soap and water are not available.  Avoid using the alcohol-based hand cleanser more than three times in a row before washing with soap and water.  Limit your exposure to crowds and use judgment on whether or not to shake hands with someone.

At the end of September get a flu vaccination as soon as it is available.  Flu vaccines are usually given from September through January, but check with your physician for exact details.  If you have chronic health conditions or are over 65 years of age, consult your physician about the pneumonia vaccine as well.

Remember, the cold and flu can be very dangerous.  Prevention and prompt attention if you become ill will keep you and those around you safe and healthy.

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