Catching a cold or influenza is nothing to sneeze at. Aside from the discomfort of repeated sneezing or having sore throat and nasal congestion, you may also experience exhaustion, muscle soreness, chills, and headaches. While the infection usually lasts for a week or two, it can get in the way of your daily activities.
“A cold is typically mild while flu may result in serious health problems, like pneumonia. Although these viral infections are highly contagious, there are ways to prevent getting infected and to recover quickly if you have them,” says Dr. Nicky Montoya, president of MediCard Philippines.
To prevent cold and flu infections and recover easily:
Wash your hands with soap and water often. It may sound cliché but hand washing is scientifically proven to prevent viral infections. Your hands touch a countless number of germ-infected objects every day, but these germs can be easily killed by washing your hands with soap and water. If water and soap are not available, you can use alcohol or alcohol-based hand sanitizer as an alternative.
|practice good hygiene, keep hand sanitizers handy|
Always practice good hygiene. Keep yourself and your surroundings clean all the time. Refrain from touching your mouth and nose without washing your hands thoroughly first. When you’re going out in public, bring hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes for cleaning surfaces you need to touch. As much as possible, do not share your eating utensils and drinking cups with other people.
Follow a healthy lifestyle. Healthy living is important in building a strong immune system. This includes eating a well-balanced diet, getting enough rest and exercise and abstaining from alcohol, tobacco and substance abuse. Vitamin supplements can also provide the nutrients you may be lacking. Taking vitamin C before the onset of a cold is said to shorten the duration of cold symptoms.
Get vaccinated. Vaccines are one of the safest ways to prevent flu infection. It is best to get flu shots once a year, especially before the start of the flu season. Also, your immunity decreases over time and flu viruses are constantly changing so it is recommended to get regularly vaccinated to protect yourself from new strains.
Get regular medical check-ups. While over-the-counter antiviral medicines can relieve symptoms, it is best to get medical advice before self-medicating. Doctors can recommend the best treatment for your sickness based on your lifestyle, medical history and physical needs. They can also provide you more tips on sidestepping sickness and staying healthy all year long.
“No one is invincible from cold and flu infections, but by practicing good hygiene and healthy habits, you can survive the cold and flu season unscathed,” says Dr. Montoya.