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How to Stay Healthy During Cold and Flu Season

It’s upon us again. The weather is getting colder and germs are spreading around the office and your children’s’ schools. Yes, it is cold and flu season. Here are some great ways you can protect yourself and your children to make cold and flu season more bearable.

Why are the cold and flu viruses more common during the cold winter months? The below video from CNN explains this mystery.

http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/.element/js/2.0/video/evp/module.js?loc=dom&vid=/video/health/2007/12/05/gupta.winter.flu.cnnEmbedded video from CNN Video

If your child comes home from school coughing, sneezing or with a runny nose. Don’t panic it could just be the common cold. Here are some great ways you can help your child get through his cold faster and have an easier time with his symptoms. If you live in a climate that is dry during the colder months put a warm mist vaporizer in your child’s room. Breathing in the moist air will help break up your child’s cough and could shorten the amount of days he suffers with the cough.

Vitamin C and the Common Cold

Make sure your child drinks plenty of vitamin C. Research as shown that Vitamin C reduces the duration of the common cold. Great sources of Vitamin C include, Papaya (60mg), strawberries (60mg), oranges (50mg), cauliflower (40mg), and spinach (30mg). According to The Medical College of Wisconsin, the recommended intake of vitamin C for children are as follows:

  • 1-3 years: 15 mg
  • 4-8 years: 25 mg
  • 9-13 years: 45 mg
  • 14-18: 75 mg for boys and 65 mg for girls

Vitamin C can also help reduce the length of the cold in adults. Here is the RDA (recommended dietary allowance) of vitamin C for adults:

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For pregnant and lactating (breast feeding) women:

  • Pregnant: 80-85 mg
  • Lactating: 115-120 mg

Healthy Adults

  • 75 mg per day for women;
  • 90 mg for men.
  • Smokers should add an additional 35 mg per day because their metabolic turnover of vitamin C is more rapid, as is their rate of oxidative stress.


C-Complex 1000 Tablets

There are several ways that you can prevent the cold and flu from spreading around your family. Make sure your children wash their hands frequently during cold and flu season. Use an antibiotic soap and keep objects around the house that are touched frequently sanitized. Spray the telephone, television remote control, computer keyboard, door knobs, toys and light switches with antibacterial spray. Antibacterial disinfecting wipes can also kill household germs that could spread the cold and flu viruses.

If you don’t want to suffer from the cold this season taking Echinacea has been proven to boost the immune system in adults thus reducing the duration of the cold. Pregnant and lactating women should not take this herbal supplement.


Echinacea w/Goldenseal Root

How Do You Tell the Difference Between the Cold and Influenza?

According to flufacts.com, “In the U.S., an estimated 25–50 million cases of the flu are currently reported each year — leading to 150,000 hospitalizations and 30,000–40,000 deaths yearly. If these figures were to be estimated incorporating the rest of the world, there would be an average of approximately 1 billion cases of flu, around 3–5 million cases of severe illness, and 300,000–500,000 deaths annually.”

“The cold and flu are both respiratory illnesses, but they are caused by different types of viruses. Flu symptoms usually come on quickly (within 3-6 hours) and consist of a fever, body aches, dry cough, and extreme tiredness. Cold symptoms are less severe and people experience a stuffy nose, productive cough, slight tiredness, and limited body aches.”

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If you or your child suffers from a dry cough that is accompanied by a fever, body aches, and moderate to severe tiredness it most likely is the flu. Sneezing, a stuffy nose and sore throat are all common symptoms of the cold but are not present in the influenza virus. If you or your child is throwing up most likely it is food poisoning and not the flu. Contact your doctor right away if any of the symptoms become severe.

The number one way you can prevent the flu is by getting a flu vaccine. There are two types of flu vaccines, a nasal spray (sometimes referred to as LAIV for “Live Attenuated Influenza Vaccine”) — which is a spray taken in the nose, and the flu “shot” which usually contains a inactivated (or killed) vaccine. Children 2 and over can get the nasal spray.

Who is the most at risk?

Anyone can get the flu shot but it is most recommended that these people get vaccinated each year

Children aged 6 months up to their 19th birthday
Pregnant women
People 50 years of age and older
People of any age with certain chronic medical conditions
People who live in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities
People who live with or care for those at high risk for complications from flu, including:
Health care workers
Household contacts of persons at high risk for complications from the flu
Household contacts and out of home caregivers of children less than 6 months of age (these children are too young to be vaccinated)

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Take your vitamins, keep your home clean, drink plenty of orange juice and most of all make sure everyone in your family gets their annual flu shot. These tips will help you and your family stay healthy this cold and flu season.

Cascia

Cold and flu resources
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
WMD Cold and Flu
Find a Flu Clinic– Sponsored by the American Lung Association

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Cascia Talbert

Cascia Talbert is a devout Catholic, mother of five children, health and fitness enthusiast and positive parenting supporter. She is also the founder of the award winning online health, fitness, parenting and Christian faith magazine for moms, the Healthy Moms Magazine. She lives in the Chicago suburbs with her husband, five children and one spoiled cat. Her hobbies include gardening, country music, running, and playing her flute. Check out her first book, "Taking Care of your Family's Health and Well-being, Saints to Turn to and the Catholic Faith," available exclusively on Amazon.

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6 Comments

  1. Anonymous October 21, 2008

    Nasal Washing Works During The Cold and Flu SeasonMy patients often say “you want me to do what” when I suggest nose washing for nasal congestion from colds and other infections. I explain why nasal washing makes so much sense, why it is safe, and why it is effective in reducing both the symptoms and the use of medications. I then demonstrate the simple technique to little ones as young as 2 and to folks up to age 90, they are then ready to try it. My patients require my services less often during the winter cold and flu season if they wash daily. You may think I am trying to put myself out of business but since my job is keeping people healthy and helping them feel better, I love teaching people how to wash his or her nose, I have been doing just this for more than 20 years. With cold and flu season here, this is a wonderful time to share basic preventive health care. It has been clearly shown that daily nasal washing will reduce the number of infections a person experiences. Exposure to irritants such as bacteria and viruses causes swelling of the mucus membranes and an increase in mucus production as well as thicker and stickier mucus this results in abnormal environment. A buffered salt solution washes particles out, shrinks nasal membranes, increases the efficiency of the nose hairs, thins secretions and allows the tiny sinus openings to drain. Washing the body’s filter just makes sense!Nasal washes are also useful for those who frequently encounter pollutants: allergy sufferers, firefighters, factory workers, farmers, gardeners, painters and exercise enthusiasts. People who are fed up with using too many medications sincerely appreciate the benefits of cleaning their nose. Almost daily, the news announces a medication is recalled, the side effects are too risky and most recently, children should NOT be given cold remedies. We have known for some time that over the counter cold remedies do not shorten the course of the cold. It is clear that antibiotics, decongestants, antihistamines as well as nasal steroids are over prescribed and overused. However, the side effects, the expense, the potential drug interactions AND the development of bacterial resistance is a concerning issue for our modern society. I tell my patients when discussing any recommended treatment option, “You should look at the pros and cons of each option offered to you prior to making your decision.” How can washing with buffered salt water cause any harm? Nasal cleanliness is central to good health and is effective for anyone that wishes to prevent nasal woes or wishes to reduce their use of medications. It is important to have a system that makes washing easy, safe and effective. There are several methods currently available. For example, there is a squeeze bottle, a Neti pot and several squeeze bottles. The Nasopure delivery system that I personally developed to help my patients offers full control over pressure and flow and offers convenience. Pick the system that works for you because any washing is better than no washing. People are more likely to wash their nasal passages if it is incorporated into their daily routine – like brushing teeth, washing hands, shampooing hair, and YES: Nasal Washing!

  2. The Healthy Mom October 21, 2008

    I’ve never heard of nasal washing. Thank you for sharing. Although, I don’t think I am going to wash my nasal passages this cold and flu season. There are other ways to take care of yourself during cold and flu season. If I heard this from a credible Doctor instead of someone who wishes to remain anonymous I would recommend this to my readers. This blog is meant to start discussions, so if anyone wishes to expand on nasal washing I am open to more comments.

  3. The Fitness Diva October 23, 2008

    I need to be loading up on all the C and echinacea i can right now!I have a sore throat and stubborn cough.Happens every winter! It’s a nightmare. But it will pass.Thanks for the info!

  4. The Healthy Mom October 23, 2008

    Thank you for stopping by! I always make sure I have echinacea and vitamin C around during cold and flu season. Make sure you get your flu shot too! Take care of that sore throat and cough. I also drink lots of tea when I have a sore throat. Thanks again for visiting and for the comment.

  5. Sharon October 28, 2008

    I also recently read from the Dr. Mercola site that a lack of Vitamin D contributes to the viruses in winter months, since we lack as much sun exposure & hence our consumption of Vit D. I thought it was interesting.I just bought some worthy vitamins for my 4yo, and we eat a pretty healthy diet w/ whole grains and fresh veggies. I need to increase our Vitamin C-thanks for the reminder!The only thing I disagree with is the flu shot, respectfully, of course. 🙂 I don't agree with the ingredients used, and the research I have read on the vaccine doesn't seem supportive enough to convince me to get it for myself or my children. Now nasal washing…that's a new one to me! I think I'll try to look that one up tomorrow. 😉

  6. The Healthy Mom October 28, 2008

    Thank you for visiting, Sharon. I didn’t know that there was a link between vitamin D and viruses. My family takes multivitamins with plenty of vitamin D and we live in Sunny California so we get a little more sun than most of the rest of the country during the winter months, but those multivitamins still help. Again thanks for the comment and for visiting!