Cold & Flu Prevention

Cold & Flu Prevention
Posted on 10/04/2018
Article by  Dr. Lisa Boucek

While colds and the flu (influenza) both cause respiratory illnesses, they are caused by different viruses. Both are contagious via droplets from coughing, sneezing, talking, and touching infected surfaces. They can have similar symptoms, but colds are generally milder and are not associated with some of the serious health complications that the influenza virus poses. The following table shows the differences in regards to symptoms between colds and flu:

cold vs flu CDC

The importance of hand hygiene cannot be exaggerated in preventing colds and the flu. Use soap and water and wash hands for 20-30 seconds (this is the amount of time to sing “Happy Birthday” in your head). If soap is not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer instead.

If sick limit your contact with others. Make sure to cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing. If you have a fever you should stay home from work or school for at least 24 hours after the fever has subsided. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth, as this is how many germs are transmitted. In addition, make sure you are getting enough sleep and eating a healthy diet.

The best prevention for the flu is to receive a yearly flu vaccine. The vaccine is available for those 6 months of age and older. In the 2017-2018 flu season, 80% of children who died from influenza did not receive the immunization.

Prevention is key when it comes to fighting cold and flu viruses.

‚Äčfight flu infographic

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