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Thursday, December 12, 2013
As winter sets in, so do coughs and colds. Seasonal illnesses increase as the temperatures drop, and while contagious viruses are active year-round, fall and winter are when we're all most vulnerable to them. This is due in large part to people spending more time indoors with others when the weather gets cold. Most respiratory bugs come and go within a few days, with no lasting effects. However, some cause serious health problems. Although symptoms of colds and flu can be similar, the two are different.
Colds are usually distinguished by a stuffy or runny nose and sneezing. Other symptoms include coughing, a scratchy throat, and watery eyes. No vaccine against colds exists because they can be caused by many types of viruses. Colds come on gradually and are often spread through contact with mucus.
Approximately 5-20% of U.S. residents get the flu each year. In the United States, the Flu season generally runs from November to April, peaking in January or February. The Flu comes on suddenly, is more serious, and lasts much longer than a cold. Flu symptoms include fever, headache, chills, dry cough, body aches, fatigue, and general misery. Like colds, flu can cause a stuffy or runny nose, sneezing, and watery eyes.
In order to stay healthy during the winter, try these preventative steps:
- Get Vaccinated
- Wash hands often
- Limit exposure to sick individuals
- Keep stress low
- Eat & Sleep right
- Exercise regularly
For more tips, and information regarding seasonal colds and the Flu, check out Flu.gov.
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