The common cold is called common for a reason—there are over 1 billion annual cases of it in the U.S.A. alone. Moreover, on average up to 20% of the U.S. population suffers from influenza, aka the flu, with more than 3,000- 49,000 deaths each year. The state of Hawaii is extremely prone to influenza outbreaks due to a high circulation of tourists, as well as our tropical climate. Resolutely, it is very important to keep your immune system healthy, primarily between the months of November to May.

You are at risk of catching the cold or flu if…

  • You were exposed to someone with the cold or influenza virus
  • You were exposed to affected person’s germs (keyboard, doorknob, sneeze, spoon, nose, mouth etc.)
  • Your immune system is weakened
    • You are emotionally stressed
    • You are extremely tired
  • You have allergies with nose and throat symptoms
  • You are over the age of 50
  • You are pregnant
  • Your children are under the age of 2
  • You have chronic lung or heart conditions
  • You have metabolic disorders such as diabetes, anemia, or kidney disease
  • You are living in long-term care facilities such as nursing homes

The common cold is a respiratory illness caused by a virus. There are over 200 different cold viruses, however there are three that are the most prevalent. The most commonly occurring cold virus is “Rhinovirus” which causes up to 40% of all colds, and is the most active during fall, winter, and spring. If you contract the cold virus, you will most likely be experiencing a sore throat, runny nose, congestion, and a cough for about a week.

The flu is a respiratory illness caused by the influenza virus A, B, or C. The flu is more serious than the cold, as it can develop into a hazardous condition such as pneumonia or dehydration. You may have the flu if you are experiencing any or all of the following: fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills, fatigue, and possibly vomiting or diarrhea (more likely in children.)

Can I prevent myself from getting the flu or a cold?

By practicing healthy habits and good hygiene, yes, you can! We suggest that you:

  • Get vaccinated (against the flu)
  • Cover your cough or sneeze
  • Wash your hands often and, use an alcohol based sanitizer
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
  • Avoid crowds
  • Stay home if you are sick to prevent further spread of the virus
  • Keep your immune system strong by
    • Getting plenty of sleep
    • Eating fruits and vegetables
    • Exercise
    • Relieving your stress in a healthy way

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