Beat Those Bugs

17 Nov 2016
POSTED BY Y Magazine

Practical tips on combatting cold and flu during the cooler months in Oman.

When the cold and flu season strikes, many people in the Sultanate find themselves coughing, sneezing, congested, aching, uncomfortable – and sometimes, downright miserable. The widespread prevalence of these symptoms sweeps the country each year and affects people of all ages.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States, adults can catch an average of two to three colds per year while children suffer even more, especially during the colder months. 

“The cold and flu (influenza) are both highly contagious viral infections,” says Dr Keri Peterson, a New York-based doctor. “While they spread easily, there are some easy measures that families can take to protect themselves from getting infected, even while they are sick, to prevent prolonged illness and recover more quickly.”

To protect you and your family, and to prevent the spread of illness, Peterson offers these tips for navigating the cold and flu season:

  • Wash your hands with soap and water regularly, especially after touching dirty surfaces like doorknobs and keyboards. Thorough washing should take as long as singing “Happy Birthday” twice.
  • Don’t touch your eyes, nose or mouth. These are direct entry points for germs. Most adults touch their face about 16 times a day, and children even more often, increasing the spread of germs. 
  • Germs live on surfaces and spread to humans through skin contact so anything that you touch frequently can be a threat. Use disinfectant wipes to wipe down your workspace daily, as well as your telephone, mouse and keyboard. Make sure you regularly disinfect doorknobs and shared electronics like TV remotes. Also, wash your children’s toys after playtime.
  • Studies indicate flu viruses thrive best in cold and dry places, making winter air an ideal breeding ground. Use a humidifier to keep humidity levels in your home between 40 and 60 per cent to reduce viruses’ chances of survival. Humidifiers can also help relieve cold and flu symptoms and discomfort. An option such as the Vicks Filter-Free Cool Mist Humidifier is a convenient way to help relieve congestion and coughs in children. For adults and children aged two and older, Vicks VapoSteam, paired with a warm mist humidifier or vaporiser, releases a medicated steam with a cough suppressant to help relieve coughs and colds.
  • Everyone six months of age and older should get a flu jab every year. Flu vaccination should take place soon after the vaccine becomes available to the public, preferably in October. 
  • Watch your symptoms. Cold symptoms come on gradually and progress over time, typically starting with a sore throat, then a runny nose and eventually a cough. On the other hand, the flu hits fast and furious with the sudden onset of fever, aches, fatigue, cough and headache.
  • Fever can sometimes occur with a cold and is usually mild; with the flu it is common and higher, ranging from 37-38C. Taking your temperature with a thermometer is a good way to help determine which virus you have.

Find more tips for fighting cold and flu at – Family Features

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