How to enjoy fall without the flu

Medicine, cough drops and tissues are essentials during flu season. Darci Fosdyck/The Buzz.
Medicine, cough drops and tissues are essentials during flu season. Darci Fosdyck/The Buzz.

Fall is one of the best seasons; it brings chilly mornings, changing of the leaves to red and gold, and football; but along with the good, it also brings cold and flu season.

Colds and influenza (flu) are both caused by viruses, and both can make you feel miserable and last for about seven to 10 days. There are differences between the illnesses that you can easily recognize to which you are coming down with.

Colds come on gradually and consist of; sneezing, runny nose, sore throat, sinus and chest congestion with a productive cough (mucus).

Influenza starts suddenly with symptoms of; high fever, head and body aches, fatigue, chills and a dry cough.

One of the preventions of getting the flu is by getting the seasonal flu shot. It is not guaranteed that you will not come down with a stain of the illness, but it reduces the chances significantly. After getting the shot, it takes two weeks for your antibodies to build up and be ready to fight the virus. The earlier you get it the better.

SAU is holding a flu clinic on October 10, 2013 on the third floor of the Rogalski Center from 11a.m. to 1:30 p.m. You can receive your annual flu shot for the cost of $26.50. Payments must be made by cash, Visa or MasterCard. No checks will be accepted.

Healthy behaviors will boost your immune system and help with the prevention of illness: Get at least seven hours of sleep per night, exercise regularly, eat a well-balanced diet (consisting of dairy, fruit, vegetables, grain and protein), wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, use hand sanitizers if you are unable to wash your hands.

Germs can survive outside the human body on surfaces for up to two hours. There are prevention methods to help in this situation as well. Do not touch your eyes, mouth and nose with un-sanitized hands. If you do not live alone, frequently wipe down doorknobs, remotes, keyboards and other shared surfaces. Make sure to wash hands or sanitize when leaving a computer lab. Wash towels and sheets weekly, and avoid sharing towels. Do not share personal hygiene products, beverages, water bottles and cosmetics. Keep your toothbrushes separated, and after any illness your toothbrush should be replaced to help prevent the risk of re-infection.

Since illness is not 100 percent preventable, if you become ill, try not to spread the virus. If you are running a fever, stay home until you are fever free for 24 hours. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze then dispose of the tissue immediately. If you do not have a tissue handy, use the crook of your elbow or your shoulder; do not use your hands. Drink lots of fluids, especially water, and use a humidifier to loosen up congestion. Hot drinks and soups are good and use over the counter medication as directed to relieve your symptoms. If you are not feeling better within 10 days, or if you get worse instead of better, you should seek medical attention from your doctor.

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