for your health
Six surefire ways to
battle cold and flu bugs
The new flu:
THE H1N1 FLU (or human
swine influenza) virus is
similar to seasonal flu,
such as pneumonia. A
vaccine is now available,
but prevention is still your
The Center for Disease
• Wash hands thoroughly
with soap and warm water,
or use hand sanitizer.
• Cough and sneeze in the
crook of your arm or sleeve.
• Stay home if you are sick.
for more information.
gov for travel notices and
• Talk to a health professional if you experience
severe flu-like symptoms.
By Angela Pirisi
THE COLD AND FLU season is here, and no matter how often you wash your hands or avoid people
with colds, you can’t avoid those nasty bugs forever.
Or is it possible to coast through the winter season
without a sniffle? Here’s the latest, best advice about
warding off and beating down a bout of cold or flu
so you at least have a fighting chance.
Sleep more. Longer, better sleep can lower
your chances of catching a cold, suggest findings
published in the Archives of Internal Medicine.
Science has already shown that chronic sleep loss
can tax the immune system; conversely, getting
enough shut-eye can strengthen your defenses
against many diseases, includ-
ing the common cold.
After surveying the
sleep habits of 153
healthy adults, ages 21
to 55, for two weeks,
researchers gave them
nasal drops containing a
cold virus and then moni-
tored them for five days.
Getting less than seven hours of sleep per night
tripled the chances of catching a cold, compared to
logging eight or more hours. And participants with
sleep disturbances (e.g., waking up, tossing and
NOVEMBER 2009 The Costco Connection 73
turning) lasting more than 8 percent of their sleep
time were five times more
likely to catch a cold.
Act fast. Even more
important than taking
fast-acting drugs is acting quickly on symptoms when they first
appear. Research shows
that early action can
reduce the frequency of
sneezing and blowing your nose. It may also reduce
the occurrence of ear complications. So says cold
scientist Jack Gwaltney, professor emeritus,
University of Virginia School of Medicine.
Considering that cold symptoms gather
momentum within the first 48 hours of onset before
tapering off, he recommends starting with regular
doses (every 12 hours) of an older-class antihistamine (e.g., chlorpheniramine) and ibuprofen until
symptoms resolve, then adding other symptom
relief, such as decongestants, as required. If you feel
worse, consult your doctor or pharmacist.
Wash up. Hand hygiene is still the number-one way to reduce transmission, but what you use to
scrub up matters too. Edith Blondel-Hill, M.D., an
infectious-diseases specialist at Kelowna General