by NCPS Staff
Stuffy heads, achy bones, fevers, chills, coughs and sneezing. Yes, cold and flu season will be upon us in no time. In spite of some of the best and most precautionary measures you can take, realistically many of us will experience “cold or flu-like” symptoms before the flu season is over.
Children and the elderly are particularly vulnerable to cold viruses. And during these tough economic times, the need to self-diagnose and self-medicate increases. However due to the risk of Reye’s syndrome, it is not recommended to give aspirin to children without your doctor’s approval.
So, what can you do at the first sign of a sore throat or sniffles? It is really important to get plenty of rest, and drink lots of fluids. If you are a smoker, reduce the number of cigarettes you smoke, or use this time to stop smoking all together. Use of a humidifier may also relieve some symptoms. If you can’t afford a humidifier, do like grandmama used to do: boil some water in a big pot and inhale the steam that fills the room.
For those who are in moderate to good health, an over-the-counter medicine for pain and fever, and an expectorant to ease the coughing will give you some needed relief. But, if your symptoms persist or worsen, and for those who suffer from a chronic illness or whose health is compromised, by all means contact your doctor immediately.
Because colds are quite contagious, parents are encouraged to keep children home from schools or day care centers if they notice any cold-like symptoms. In addition, everyone should be mindful to wash your hands thoroughly and often, cover your mouths when sneezing or coughing and discard all used kleenex/tissues in an appropriate manner!
Last, but not least, if you can tolerate it and can afford the minimal cost… get a flu shot.