Saturday, November 22, 2014

Cold and Flu Do's and Don'ts

DO drink extra liquids if you have a cold or flu. You need three to four more glasses a day to replace the moisture lost from coughing and sneezing and to thin mucous secretions.

DON't rely on vitamin C, zinc, or Airborne to prevent a cold. None of these have been shown to be effective in staving off the virus.

DO try echinacea to ease a cold. A 2007 study of 14 controlled trials found that the herbal supplement can slightly reduce a cold's duration and cut people's risk of catching a cold in the first place by 35%.

DON'T use a decongestant nasal spray more than twice a day for three or four days. Overuse cam lead to rebound congestion.

DO ask your doctor about a prescription drug such as Tamiflu or Relenze, to cut short the flu. These drugs must be started within 48 hours of onset of symptoms.

DON'T dose and drive. Antihistamines, like alcohol, can cause intense drowsiness and impair your ability to concentrate.

DO track the ingredients in every mdicine your taking, whether it's an over-the-counter drug or a prescription. You don't want to double-dose.

DON'T plead for pills. Antibiotics are useless against the viruses that cause colds and flu. And taking them unnecessarily can cause antibiotic resistance, which leads to bugs that are difficult to treat with any medicine, like MRSA.

DO buy your own nasal spray. If you use someone else's contaminated bottle, you might introduce bacteria into your nose.

Real Simple/11-07

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