Ok, so H1N1 swine flu has been THE hot topic lately now that it's getting colder. Yes, we're all kind of getting sick of it, pun intended, but it's important. This doesn't have anything to do with Ahh Products, but this short guide has great tips on ways to battle cold and flu bugs. You'll learn things you didn't know, I sure did!
*Update January 16, 2013: the latest bug going around apparently is a flu strain that hasn't been seen for 8 or 9 years. That means our immunity to it is either weak or gone most likely. As a result, this year's flu is hitting us particularly hard, so please protect your family.
1. Sleep - Since chronic sleep loss is shown to hurt the immune system, getting enough sleep is invaluable. Longer, better sleep can in fact boost your defenses. Tests show that less than 7 hours a night triples the chance of catching a bug! Folks who toss and turn for more than 8% of the time are 5 times more likely! At least rest, just relax in a bean bag chair and veg out if you can't sleep.
2. Act Now - As soon as you get symptoms, runny nose, sneezing, coughing, etc. - start an "older-class" antihistamine every 12 hours, or what your doctor recommends (i.e. chlorpheniramine like Dayquil or Sudafed) so you'll sneeze and blow your nose less. Too much nose-blowing can lead to ear infections. Symptoms get stronger in the first 48 hours, so that's when you need to attack them.
3. Wash - Handwashing is still the best way to reduce spreading and getting bugs. Plain soap is great to simply wash the germs away. In fact, antibacterial soaps have antibiotics, which don't kill cold or flu viruses, but they can make antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Eeks! Antiseptic soap (as opposed to antibacterial) does kill bacteria and viruses, and hand sanitizer gel is good too. Don't forget to wash things that may have gotten sneezed, drooled, or coughed as an extra precaution (like the cover on your veg-out bean bag).
4. Keep Noses Clear - Use a saline nasal wash to flush out viruses and bacteria and to remove mucus. It's just safe salt water if used correctly! Some commercial decongestants can be bad on blood pressure for some people, so saline is natural relief.
5. Be Active - Regular exercise increases macrophage cells, which kill bugs! Activity also makes immunity cells more reactive to bugs as soon as they try to get you. But do NOT overdo it, since over 90 minutes of high-intensity workouts can make you more prone to catching something. If you're already sick, just rest and exercise later.
Did you know: Flu season runs from October to March/April, so get vaccinated even if you think it's too late. H1N1 occurs throughout the year! You need 2 weeks for vaccines to kick in. You need a separate H1N1 vaccine and seasonal flu vaccine, and can get them at the same time.
You are contagious 1 day before and 7 days after you have symptoms. Kids can be contagious longer. Stay home, kick back in your bean bag chair, and avoid people if you have the flu.
Don't know if it's a cold or the flu?
|Symptoms||Cold||Flu (including H1N1)|
|Runny, stuffy nose||Usually||Sometimes|
|Cough||Sometimes||Often, can worsen|
|Fever, Chills||Rarely, or low-grade 102F or less|| Usually, and over 102F
*H1N1 can be very high.
|Muscle aches||Rarely||Usually, and often severe|
|Fatigue, weakness||Uncommon||Usually, persists 2-3 weeks|
|Nausea||No, loss of appetite possible||
Usually, *H1N1 can have diarrhea
|Disease severity: how serious can it get?||Milder, few complications, includes sinus or ear infection||Higher risk of severe complications (pneumonia, hospitalization, high fever, death). Children, elderly, people with ear infections or chronic conditions at high risk.|
*courtesy of the Costco Connection
Although H1N1 has been reported in all U.S. states, it isn't always a disaster. My best friend's 4 year old daughter got it, but very mildly, and recovered within a week. BUT...don't take chances and do what you can. Stay healthy! This goes for all strains of flu, it doesn't have to be H1N1 to be dangerous.
Visit this great flu information site to learn more.
Yours Truly, Jade