A chill is in the air, and with it, often comes the following common symptoms: Sniffling, sneezing, congestion, fevers, and body aches. But how can you tell the difference between a cold and the flu? Generally, a cold produces less severe symptoms than the flu. Many people can continue their usual activities with a simple cold. But the flu can be severe enough to significantly restrict one’s daily activities. The symptoms of the flu are often much more severe than a cold, producing a higher fever, chills, and body aches. The good news is that you can take steps to reduce your risk of getting sick.
1. Wash your hands often! The most common way to catch a cold or the flu is to touch your face after your hands have touched a contaminated surface. Teach children to wash their hands often also.
2. Make it your policy to never touch your face in a public location. Supermarkets, ATM machines, malls, and any high traffic areas can be breeding grounds for viruses.
3. Give your immune system a fighting chance. Eat well and avoid lots of sugar. Studies show that sugar can impair your immune system for several hours after ingesting it. Get plenty of rest. Lack of proper sleep can also reduce your immune response.
4. Stay home from work or school when you are sick. There are many people who have compromised immune systems, such as the elderly and those who suffer from chronic illnesses. If you go out when you are sick, you could be putting these people at risk. For some of them, it literally is a matter of life and death.
5. If you absolutely can’t stay home, try to make yourself as less contagious as possible by coughing or sneezing into disposable tissues. Also use hand sanitizer often, if you are not able to get to soap and water.
6. If you do get sick, drink lots of fluids and hot soup. There are actually medical studies that prove that hot chicken soup can make you well faster!