Cold and Flu
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How can you prevent the spread of colds?

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2008-10-02 23:43:33

Anwser; 1. Wash your hands and wash them often.

The Naval Health Research Center conducted a study of 40,000

recruits who were ordered to wash their hands five times a day. The

recruits cut their incidence of respiratory illnesses by 45

percent.

2. Wash your hands twice every time you wash them. When Columbia

University researchers looked for germs on volunteers' hands, they

found one handwashing had little effect, even when using

antibacterial soap. So wash twice if you're serious about fending

off colds.

3. Use this hand-drying strategy in public restrooms. Studies

find a shockingly large percentage of people fail to wash their

hands after using a public restroom. And every single one of them

touches the door handle on the way out. So after washing your

hands, use a paper towel to turn off the faucet. Use another paper

towel to dry your hands, then open the door with that paper towel

as a barrier between you and the handle. It sounds nuts, but it's

an actual recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control to

protect you from infectious diseases like cold and flu.

4. Carry hand sanitizer with you. Colds are typically passed not

from coughing or kissing (although those are two modes of

transmission) but from hand-to-hand or hand-to-object contact,

since most cold viruses can live for hours on objects. You then put

your hand in or near your mouth or nose, and voilà! You're sick.

Carry hand sanitizer gel or sanitizing towelettes with you and you

can clean your hands anytime, even if the closest water supply is

100 miles away. It works. One study of absenteeism due to infection

in elementary schools found schools using the gel sanitizer had

absentee rates from infection nearly 20 percent lower than those

using other hand-cleaning methods.

5. Use your knuckle to rub your eyes. It's less likely to be

contaminated with viruses than your fingertip. This is particularly

important given that the eye provides a perfect entry point for

germs, and the average person rubs his eyes or nose or scratches

his face 20-50 times a day, notes Jordan Rubin, Ph.D., author of

the book The Maker's Diet.

6. Run your toothbrush through the microwave on high for 10

seconds to kill germs that can cause colds and other illnesses. You

think it gets your teeth clean -- and it does. But once you're done

brushing, your toothbrush is a breeding ground for germs. Sterilize

it in the microwave before you use it, or store it in hydrogen

peroxide (rinse well before using), or simply replace it every

month when you change the page on your calendar and after you've

had a cold.

7. Get a flu shot every fall. The Centers for Disease Control

recommends flu shots for anyone 50 years old or older, residents of

long-term care facilities, people of any age who have chronic

medical problems (heart or lung disease, asthma, diabetes, etc.),

pregnant women, and people whose immune systems have been weakened

(by cancer, AIDS, or other causes). Also, people who work or live

with a high-risk person should get a flu shot so they don't spread

the flu. Of course, anyone who just wants to avoid the flu should

also get one. Hate shots? Ask for the nasal spray vaccine.

8. Stop blaming yourself when things go wrong at work. Believe

it or not, blaming yourself makes you more likely to catch a cold!

At least, that's what researchers found when they studied more than

200 workers over three months. Even those who had control over

their work were more likely to begin sneezing if they lacked

confidence or tended to blame themselves when things went wrong.

Researchers expect such attitudes make people more stressed on the

job, and stress, as you know, can challenge your immune system.

9. Put a box of tissues wherever people sit. Come October, buy a

6- or 12-pack of tissue boxes and strategically place them around

the house, your workplace, your car. Don't let aesthetics thwart

you. You need tissues widely available so that anyone who has to

cough or sneeze or blow his nose will do so in the way least likely

to spread germs.

10. Leave the windows in your house open a crack in winter. Not

all of them, but one or two in the rooms in which you spend the

most time. This is particularly important if you live in a newer

home, where fresh circulating air has been the victim of energy

efficiency. A bit of fresh air will do wonders for chasing out

germs.

11. Lower the heat in your house 5 degrees. The dry air of an

overheated home provides the perfect environment for cold viruses

to thrive. And when your mucous membranes (i.e., nose, mouth, and

tonsils) dry out, they can't trap those germs very well. Lowering

the temperature and using a room humidifier helps maintain a

healthier level of humidity in the winter.

12. Speaking of which, buy a hygrometer. These little tools

measure humidity. You want your home to measure around 50 percent.

A consistent measure higher than 60 percent means mold and mildew

may start to set in your walls, fabrics, and kitchen; lower than 40

percent and the dry air makes you more susceptible to germs.

13. Sit in a sauna once a week. Why? Because an Austrian study

published in 1990 found that volunteers who frequently used a sauna

had half the rate of colds during the six-month study period than

those who didn't use a sauna at all. It's possible that the hot air

you inhale kills cold viruses. Most gyms have saunas these

days.

14. Inhale air from your blow-dryer. It sounds nuts, we know.

But one study conducted at Harvard Hospital in England found that

people who breathed heated air had half the cold symptoms of people

who inhaled air at room temperature. Set the dryer on warm, not

hot, and hold it at least 18 inches from your face. Breathe in the

air through your nose for as long as you can -- 20 minutes is

best.

15. Take a garlic supplement every day. When 146 volunteers

received either one garlic supplement a day or a placebo for 12

weeks between November and February, those taking the garlic were

not only less likely to get a cold, but if they did catch one,

their symptoms were less intense and they recovered faster. 16. Eat

a container of yogurt every day. A study from the University of

California-Davis found that people who ate one cup of yogurt --

whether live culture or pasteurized -- had 25 percent fewer colds

than non-yogurt eaters. Start your yogurt eating in the summer to

build up your immunity before cold and flu season starts.

17. Once a day, sit in a quiet, dim room, close your eyes, and

focus on one word. You're meditating, a proven way to reduce

stress. And stress, studies find, increases your susceptibility to

colds. In fact, stressed people have up to twice the number of

colds as non-stressed people.

18. Scrub under your fingernails every night. They're a great

hiding place for germs.

19. Change or wash your hand towels every three or four days

during cold and flu season. When you wash them, use hot water in

order to kill the germs.

20. At the very first hint of a cold, launch the following

preventive blitz. Here's how:

* Suck on a zinc lozenge until it melts away. Then suck another

every two waking hours. Or use a zinc-based nasal spray such as

Zicam.

* Take one 250-milligram capsule of the herb astragalus twice a

day until you are better.

* Cook up a pot of chicken soup.

* Roast garlic in the oven (drizzle whole clove with olive oil,

wrap in tinfoil, roast for an hour at 400°F), then spread the soft

garlic on toast and eat.

Studies find that all either reduce the length of time you

suffer with a cold or help prevent a full-blown cold from

occurring.

21. Wipe your nose -- don't blow. Your cold won't hang around as

long, according to a University of Virginia study. Turns out that

the force of blowing not only sends the gunk out of your nose into

a tissue, but propels some back into your sinuses. And, in case

you're curious, they discovered this using dye and X rays. If you

need to blow, blow gently, and blow one nostril at a time.

22. Sneeze and cough into your arm or a tissue. Whoever taught

us to cover our mouths when we cough or sneeze got it wrong. That

just puts the germs right on our hands, where you can spread them

to objects -- and other people. Instead, hold the crook of your

elbow over your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough if a tissue

isn't handy. It's pretty rare that you shake someone's elbow or

scratch your eye with an elbow, after all.

23. Don't pressure your doctor for antibiotics. Colds and flu

(along with most common infections) are caused by viruses, so

antibiotics -- designed to kill bacteria -- won't do a thing. They

can hurt, however, by killing off the friendly bacteria that are

part of our immune defenses. If you've used antibiotics a lot

lately, consider a course of probiotics -- replacement troops for

friendly bacteria. [ Note that these are just TIPS, you DO

NOT have to do them all! ]


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