Lorie Johnson

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Is it a Cold or the Flu?


This time of year about one in every five people will get sick with either the cold or the flu. It's a little tricky to tell which is which.

In general, cold symptoms are experienced from the neck up, whereas flu symptoms are all over.

COLD SYMPTOMS:
• Sore Throat
• Stuffy Nose
• Sneezing
• Cough

FLU SYMPTOMS:
• High Fever
• Body Aches
• Extreme Exhaustion
• Dry Cough

Unfortunately, both colds and flu are viruses and there isn't a pill that cures a virus. You must simply let it run its course. In order to make the process more bearable, treat the symptoms with a number of over-the-counter medications or home remedies.

The best plan of action, of course, is to not get sick in the first place. There are a number of healthy habits that really work.

KEEP YOUR HANDS CLEAN
It is the most important and effective safeguard against colds and flu. Be aware that only four out of ten people washes their hands after coughing or sneezing. Add on top of that the fact that viruses can live on surfaces for a full eight hours. So it's important to wash your hands or sanitize them as often as possible, especially before touching your eyes, nose, mouth, or food.

SLEEP
This is the time that your body repairs itself. If you are sleep deprived, your immune system suffers greatly because your body is having trouble just keeping you awake and functioning, much less fighting off viruses. According to a 2008 Carnegie-Mellon study, anything less than seven hours of sleep triples your chance of getting sick.

EXERCISE
It increases your immune system. A 2010 Appalachian State University study showed that people who walked briskly for 30 to 45 minutes a day, five days a week during the winter had fewer colds and flu than people who did not exercise at all.

EAT RIGHT
You've heard it a million times before: lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. But it's true. The vitamins in those foods will boost your immune system. Coconut oil is also a natural immunity booster, just make sure it's non-hydrogenated, also known as "virgin" or "pure" which means the only ingredient should be coconut oil.

SUPPLEMENTS
In case you don't get enough vitamins from your diet, supplements can fill in the gaps nicely. A multi-vitamin is a good place to start. You may also consider adding to it: vitamin C, vitamin D, zinc, and fish oil.

Print     Email to a Friend    posted on Tuesday, January 24, 2012 4:05 PM



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