Health Matters Newsletter


 

What you can do to prevent the common cold.

There are several ways that you can keep yourself for getting a cold or passing one on to others:

1) Hand-washing with soap and water is the simplest and the most effective ways to keep from getting colds or giving them to others.

2) If possible, avoid close contact to people who have colds.

3) If you have a cold, avoid being close to people.

4) If you sneeze or cough, cover your nose or mouth, and then wash your hands with soap and water.

5) Rhinoviruses can live up to 3 hours on your skin. They can also survive 3 hours on objects such as telephones and stair railings.  Cleaning environmental surfaces with a virus-killing disinfectant might help to prevent the spread of an infection.

6) Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.  Germs can enter your body easily by these paths.  

 

 Common Cold Issue -- October 2006
How to beat the Common Cold

Everyone has been there, the sneezing, the scratchy throat, the runny nose.  Yes, you've got it, a COLD.  There are over 200 virus strains known to cause the common cold.   A cold can spread like wildfire in close quarters such as classrooms and college dormitories.    Spread by droplets from the nose and mouth of infected persons, the average college student will experience cold like symptoms 2-4 times each year.

Question:  Can I catch a cold from being out in the cold?

This is a common myth.  There is no evidence that you can get a cold from exposure to cold weather or from getting chilled or from being overheated.

Question: Can I catch a cold from have enlarged tonsils or adenoids?

There is no evidence that your chances of getting a cold are related to factors such as exercise, diet or enlarged tonsils or adenoids. 

Question:  When is the cold season?

In late August , early September, the rate of colds increases for a few weeks and then remains high until April, when it finally declines.   At these times, the weather is cooler, people are more likely to be indoors, which increases the chances that viruses will spread from one person to another..    Most cold causing viruses survive better when the humidity is low during the colder months. 

Question:  How do I know that I have a cold?

There are many variations of the common cold.  Most people will experience  some combination of a runny nose, sneezing, stuffiness, sorethroat , cough, and/or headache for 1-2 week period.   A fever is usually low grade , but can climb to 102 degrees Fahrenheit.

Question:  When should I go to the Health Center?

Most colds can be treated with over the counter products such as Tylenol, Sudafed or any of the many cold preparations out there.  Colds can occasionally lead to bacterial infections of your middle ear, sinuses, or throat requiring treatment with antibiotics.  If the fever persists, or if  you experience significant swollen glands, severe sinus pain, or a cough that produces mucus then you should seek medical attention either with your primary physician or at the college Health Center. 

Question: How can I treat my cold?

1) Resting in bed.

2) Drinking plenty of fluids

3) Gargling with warm salt water or using throat sprays or lozenges for a sore throat

4) Taking aspirin or Tylenol for the low grade fever, headache and general malaise.

5) Taking a cough medicine with an expectorant to loosen the secretions and make it easier to cough.

6) Taking a decongestant to reduce the swelling in the nasal mucosa, promote drainage and reduce airflow resistance.

7) Discontinue all tobacco and alcohol use.  Both can make the symptoms of a cold worse.

Website: www.niaid.nih.gov/factsheets/cold.htm


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