Cold and Flu Season
about 1 year ago
What is the difference between a cold and the flu?
The flu and the common cold are both respiratory illnesses but they are caused by different viruses. In general, the flu is worse than the common cold, and symptoms such as fever, body aches, extreme tiredness, and dry cough are more common and intense. Colds are usually milder than the flu. People with colds are more likely to have a runny or stuffy nose. Colds generally do not result in serious health problems, such as pneumonia, bacterial infections, or hospitalizations.
Does being cold make you sick?
Almost every mother has said it: “Wear a jacket or you’ll catch a cold!” Is she right? So far, researchers who are studying this question think that normal exposure to moderate cold doesn’t increase your susceptibility to infection. Most health experts agree that the reason winter is “cold and flu season” is not that people are cold, but that they spend more time indoors, in closer contact with other people who can pass on their germs.
You'll often hear that you should avoid milk and other dairy products when you have a cold because they increase congestion. However, that's not really the case. In a 1990 study, Australian researchers undertook the disgusting task of collecting and weighing the tissues used by milk drinkers with colds. As it turned out, they didn't secrete any more mucus than people who avoided dairy products. In fact, the National Institutes of Health actually recommends that you eat yogurt, since the beneficial bacteria in some active yogurt cultures helps boost your immune system.
"Feed a cold and starve a fever?"
Today, doctors and dieticians think eating not only can help your body to combat a cold or fever, but also can help you feel better. Experts advise cold sufferers to fuel their bodies with a healthy, nutrition-rich diet, including plenty of fruits, vegetables and protein sources, and to consume plenty of water, decaffeinated tea and juices.
Exercise: Good or bad for immunity?
Regular exercise is one of the pillars of healthy living. It improves cardiovascular health, lowers blood pressure, helps control body weight, and protects against a variety of diseases. Just like a healthy diet, exercise can contribute to general good health and therefore to a healthy immune system.
Why get a flu vaccine?
The single best way to protect against seasonal flu and its potential severe complications is to get a seasonal influenza vaccine each year. Flu vaccines cause antibodies to develop in the body about two weeks after vaccination. These antibodies provide protection against infection with the viruses that are in the vaccine.
The seasonal flu vaccine protects against three influenza viruses that research indicates will be most common during the upcoming season. Three kinds of influenza viruses commonly circulate among people today: influenza B viruses, influenza A (H1N1) viruses, and influenza A (H3N2) viruses. Each year, one flu virus of each kind is used to produce seasonal influenza vaccine. The CDC recommends that everyone 6 months of age and older get a seasonal flu vaccine by October if possible. Vaccination is especially important for children younger than 5 years of age and children of any age with a long-term health condition like asthma, diabetes and heart disease. These children are at higher risk of serious flu complications if they get the flu.