School is In. Keep Germs Out.
School bells across Michigan will be ringing soon to mark the start of another school year and, unofficially, the start of another cold and flu season.
We’ve got four top tips to help reduce the spread of cold and flu germs and the severity of cold. And, should you need cold and flu care, all 10 of our locations are open every day of the year, including holidays.
Be A Flu Fighter
Influenza is a serious illness. Getting an annual flu vaccination can greatly reduce the risk of getting the flu, and reduce missed work and school due to flu. Our clinics offer flu vaccines for adults and children 4 years and older beginning in mid-September. Just $25. No appointment needed.
Suds & Sanitizer are Germ Busters
Suds up! It’s so simple, yet can’t be stressed enough. Washing hands with soap and water stops the spread of germs. The CDC recommends washing for 20 seconds, yet most Americans take just five. While washing hands, silently sing one round of the “A-B-C” song to see how long 20 seconds actually is.
Alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol also works well. Use a large enough amount of hand sanitizer for hands to feel wet and take a few moments to dry. Clip a travel size hand sanitizer to lunch boxes for easy use.
Ideally, hand washing should be done before and after eating, using the bathroom, and after sneezing or coughing into hands.
Pack a Whole Food Lunch
Sugar is sneaky. It’s added to bread, packaged fruit, juice boxes, even processed meats and more. The body uses sugar quickly, which can contribute to an afternoon mental slump and low concentration.
Pack a lunch with whole grain wheat bread, low-fat protein, and a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables for sustained energy. For kids’ drinks, water or white milk is preferable over juice boxes and soda.
Care for your Colds
For colds lasting longer than 14 days, or colds with a fever, persistent cough, fatigue, and/or painful sore throat, seek medical care. For the flu, anti-virals like Tamiflu work best when given within 48 hours of symptoms.
Keep in mind that the common cold is caused by a virus and does not respond to antibiotics. In fact, taking an antibiotic for a cold can contribute to the growing problem of antibiotic resistance.
Home remedies that help include:
- A steamy shower or neti pot to clear a stuffy head
- Gargling with warm salt water as needed to ease a sore throat. Use one teaspoon of table salt dissolved in 8 oz. warm water. gargle for a few second, spit and repeat.
- Get at least 7-8 hours of sleep each night.
- Eat chicken soup and drink other warm, non-caffeinated liquids