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Cold & Flu Season: Get Smart Before You Get Sick

Cold & Flu Season: Get Smart Before You Get Sick

As winter wears on, it seems like we’ll never see the light of spring. The blustering winds and barely-tolerable temps make many of us want to hibernate, but we’ve got things to do and people to see.

Unfortunately, during this time of year, it’s the people who are the problem. Nothing personal, but humans are the culprits who pass along winter’s woes. Cold and flu season is in full swing, and when we spend time with others, we could get sick.

Avoiding everyone is unrealistic (if anything, unfriendly), so being smart is a simpler solution. By brushing up on the items below, you’ll be better prepared for the season’s pitfalls. Hopefully, you’ve remained healthy thus far, so read up and remain that way.

Isn’t the flu just a “bad cold?”

Is a severed limb just a “bad papercut?” OK, we needn’t be so gruesome, but the point is, the flu is a beast compared to the common cold. Neither is pleasant, but the “extras” that come with the flu will make you wish you had “just a cold.”

Yes, some colds can be rough, with the runny nose, coughing, sneezing, sore throat, and maybe some aches and pains, but the flu will sweep in and knock you out. You may run a fever, suffer from chills, muscle pain, and even nausea—all on top of the same things a cold brings to the table.

Both are viral in nature, but the flu is caused by influenza A, B, and C viruses. The cold won’t “morph” into the flu, but if your system is compromised because you have a cold, you may be more susceptible to contracting it.

If you feel quite ill and what you thought was a cold may be something worse, your vybe provider can test you. ‘Till then, rest up, and try to avoid exposing anybody else.

Do I need to ditch dairy when I’m all “phlegmy?”

Got milk? Then drink it. There’s no need to let your dairy products go rotten just because you feel that way. Some folks think the coating properties of dairy will make phlegm multiply, but it’s really no big deal.

As James Steckelberg, M.D. explains to Parents, “Drinking milk may make phlegm thicker, but it doesn’t cause the body to make more phlegm.” He goes on to suggest how cream-based soups, milk, and ice cream soothe the throat and are an easy way to get much-needed energy-boosting calories. No one feels like a bucket of fried chicken when they’re sick. Chicken soup? Maybe.

I’m healthy, is the flu shot really necessary? What if I’m pregnant?

You may say you’re healthy now, but when you find yourself bedridden with all the worst symptoms of the flu, you’ll regret your “untouchable” attitude.

No matter how robust you may be, most people can benefit from a flu shot. Does it work every time? Nope. But extra protection is always a good thing, and if you do wind up with the flu, your bout may not be as bad as it would have been.

It’s estimated that between 9.3 million and 49 million cases of the flu occur every year in the United States alone. Those are some staggering stats, so leaning towards the chance you may be in that mix is a good way to gamble.

Not to mention, if you don’t get the flu, you can’t pass it along. Consider your community and make fighting the flu a collective effort.

As for pregnant women, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends getting the vaccine. “Influenza (flu) is more likely to cause severe illness in pregnant women than in women of reproductive age who are not pregnant. Flu also may be harmful to a pregnant woman’s developing baby.” Unless a doctor has a reason for a woman to avoid being vaccinated, go on and get the shot. Pregnancy is exhausting enough.

Antibiotics will wipe out the cold and the flu, right?

Short answer—wrong. Antibiotics are for bacterial infections, not viruses. You may feel desperate and don’t think those over-the-counter meds are working, but antibiotics aren’t the answer. They may even make you worse—in the long run, that is.

Taking antibiotics when they are not needed increases your risk of getting an infection later that may resist antibiotic treatment. If you thought your cold was bad, just wait ‘till your body can’t fight off something freaky.

My hand sanitizer makes me safer than soap and water, or does it?

Hand sanitizer is quick and simple, but the “old-fashioned” method of washing with soap and water is a better bet. If you’re in a pinch, the sanitizer is a smart step, but according to a recent study by The American Society for Microbiology, hand-washing gets rid of the flu virus more swiftly and thoroughly.

If you can’t find a sink anywhere, it’s advisable to use a hand sanitizer that’s 60% alcohol (or more). The alcohol fights off the virus, so check labels before buying.

If I get my flu shot too early in the season, it won’t last. Should I wait?

Get your vaccination early in the flu season. It’ll last you a good six months, according to the Immunization Action Coalition. It takes two weeks for you to build up the antibodies that’ll fight the flu once you’re vaccinated, so plan accordingly.

Your best bet? Around October, as per the CDC. You can receive a flu shot at any of our 10+ locations.

If you feel like you’re coming down with a cold or the flu, visit your local vybe. Don’t wait ‘till you can barely get out of bed!