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Four Tips For Staying Healthy During the Cold Season
Four Tips For Staying Healthy During the Cold Season Staying healthy when the weather gets cooler is paramount because we are all more susceptible to catching germs and viruses from others.

Stuffy nose, headache, post-nasal drip, sinus pains, watery eyes...what are you suffering from? As the weather grows colder, we are faced with these symptoms but how do we treat them? Since many of the same symptoms can be seen with allergies, colds, and the flu, they can confuse the diagnosis and lead to wrong medications. Staying healthy when the weather gets cooler is paramount because we are all more susceptible to catching germs and viruses from others. Below are some key differences among allergies, colds, and the flu.

Allergies are the bodyís response to an allergen from pollen, animals, food, dust or insects. Common manifestations are itchy, runny and stuffy noses, itchy eyes, and sneezing. Unlike the common cold, allergy symptoms tend to be cyclical, worsening with exposure to the offending allergen and then fading away. If the symptoms tend to occur in a pattern, be it nightly or seasonally, they may be caused by allergy. Allergists and otolaryngologists can perform allergy testing and treatments which can help accurately make the diagnosis and lessen the attacks. Allergies are best treated by removing the offending allergen or with an antihistamine, such as Benadryl or Claritin. Some of the symptoms that result from the allergy like a stuffy nose can be treated with a nasal decongestant like Sudafed.

Colds are caused by viruses such as rhinovirus or adenovirus. Prevention is key in preventing the dreaded stuffy nose, headache, postnasal drip, and cough. Currently, it is advised to sneeze into the crook of your arm on your sleeve instead of contaminating your hands. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers are a simple and convenient method to clean hands when on the go, but washing with soap and warm water always best. Within the first twenty-four hours of symptoms, ColdEEZE oral spray or lozenges can be an effective treatment to reduce the duration of a cold by nearly half. To alleviate the symptoms, nasal decongestants such as pseudoephedrine or phenylephrine, found in Sudafed, can be helpful.

The flu is also caused by a virus and can have some of the symptoms mentioned above. Flu, however, tends to also produce generalized body symptoms like body aches, malaise, and lethargy. Maintaining adequate hydration is paramount. Medications like Tylenol or Advil can be helpful for analgesia and supportive care. An early visit to your doctor, advanced age, or other medical conditions may prompt your doctor to prescribe Tamiflu, an effective anti-viral medication. In general, prolonged symptoms or any questions on any of the above should be addressed by your local physician.

Of course, prevention is the most important tool we have when trying to stay healthy during the cold and flu season. Here are some simple tools we can use to fight the cold and stay healthy.
Good hygiene is key
We must teach our children good hygiene especially washing their hands before eating or touching their eyes, nose, and mouth. We should also clean commonly touched surfaces frequently. If your child is ill, he or she may benefit from a day of rest at home. When children arenít feeling well, the stress of the school day can be too much. When they are overly tired, they tend not to eat or drink which leads to dehydration. At home, caregivers can encourage a child to eat nourishing food like chicken soup, drink hydrating fluids, and rest. Some general rules of thumb to follow when deciding if your child should stay home from school include a fever over 101 degrees Fahrenheit, a severe cough, wheezing, nausea, and vomiting. These same symptoms also merit calling your pediatrician and arranging for an office visit. Another benefit to keeping your child at home is it decreases the likelihood of contaminating other children and the staff at school.
  1. Wash Hands. I said it before and Iíll say it again. We come in contact with germs whenever we touch our computer keyboards, phones, or TV remote controls. When we shake hands, wipe our childrenís noses, and do our laundry - we are constantly encountering germs! With a simple wash of the hands, we can keep those germs from ever reaching our mouths, noses, and eyes, which are main entry points. If your hands are not contaminated by a bodily fluid and water isnít handy, then your hands can be cleaned with an antimicrobial solution.
  2. Sneeze into the crook of your arm. Rather than sneeze into your hands which can transmit germs easily, sneeze onto your clothes. It doesnít sound appealing, but it will help lower your likelihood of transmitting germs to your loved ones and those around you.
  3. Eat well. Patients who do not eat a well-balanced diet can find themselves at risk for contracting a cold. Particularly, elderly patients, who are low in zinc, have been found to be at a higher likelihood for developing pneumonia. A well balanced diet full of fruits and vegetables is always a plus.
  4. Use products that can help fight germs and colds during the cold season, such as Cold-EEZE. Cold-EEZE provides a nutritional source for zinc, and its proprietary formula, zinc gluconate, actually prevents the cold virus from attaching to the lining of your mouth and throat. The activated zinc ions released by the lozenge or oral spray block the virus particles. Studies have shown that zinc gluconate can reduce the duration of your cold by 42 percent.
Other useful tips include taking probiotics and of course, chicken soup!

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"Four Tips For Staying Healthy During the Cold Season"
   authored by:
Dr. Yael Halaas is a board-certified ear, nose and throat doctor in based in New York City. Sheís been featured on various news segments on The Doctors, FOX News and ABC New York and has been quoted in US Weekly, and other notable health and fitness...

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