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Flu and Cold Advisory - Tim Starkey, School Nurse

Any season can be Flu and Cold Season.

Please remember that this does NOT need to sweep through the staff, students, and instructors of your sites.

Please make sure to stay on top of hand washing and infection control at all times. Remind each other to wash your hands. During clean up, make sure you are using the disinfectant spray on tables, doorknobs, handles and all equipment and furniture that is touched. Wipe door handles, counters and faucets with disinfectant spray.

Stay well and be healthy.
Tim Starkey
School Nurse

Here are some additional tips...

Wash your hands frequently. This is often your best defense. Wash the entire hand using warm water and soap. Don't forget to clean under fingernails. Wash for 10-30 seconds. Do this SEVERAL times per day. Soap, water and friction are necessary. Anti-bacterial soap is NOT needed and can dry out your skin more.

Avoid putting your hands near your eyes, nose or mouth, unless you have washed. Most bacteria and germs are spread from a surface to your hands to your face. Few germs are transmitted through the air. Make sure tissues are available for people to use.

Clean your 'shared spaces' more often than other times of the year. Remember phones, keyboards, steering wheels, office equipment and other items used by several people during the day. At home. wash children's toys when they are sick. At home, frequently change hand towels when people are sick.

Stay warm. Recent finding have shown a heightened correlation between catching a chill and getting colds and flu. Get enough sleep. During sleep, your body's immune system goes into high gear to protect you from illness. Lack of sleep can reduce immune functioning making you susceptible to sickness.

Drink more water. In the fall and winter, it is easy to overlook your thirst and get dehydrated. Make sure you consume at least 8 glasses a day. Wash your water container regularly.

Get regular moderate exercise

Eat healthily.

Limit intake of any dehydrators. Caffeine, sugary drinks, and alcohol can be dehydrating which, in turn, may decrease your resistance to bacteria.

Finally, listen to your body. If you are less than 100% you will feel better and recover faster if you let yourself rest.

A related question that arises from time to time....

Is it the flu or a common cold?

Although often confused with the common cold, influenza is more severe and poses a greater health concern. Every year, an estimated 17 million to 50 million cases of influenza are reported nationwide—many of which occur in otherwise healthy people.

Similar to the common cold, the flu can produce respiratory symptoms, such as runny nose, coughing, and sore throat. However, the influenza virus typically causes more intense symptoms, such as sudden onset of fever, chills, headache, and muscle aches in children, adolescents, and adults. Unlike symptoms of the common cold, the fatigue and cough caused by the flu can last more than two weeks—lingering long after other symptoms subside.

Differences in symptoms between the flu and common cold

Fever COLD: rare in adults and older children

Fever FLU: usually 102° F, but can go up to 104° F and usually lasts 3 to 4 days

Headache COLD: rare

Headache FLU: sudden onset and can be severe

Muscle aches COLD: mild

Muscle aches FLU: usual, and often severe

Tiredness and weakness COLD: mild

Tiredness and weakness FLU: can last two or more weeks

Extreme exhaustion COLD: never

Extreme exhaustion FLU: sudden onset and can be severe

Runny nose COLD: often

Runny Nose FLU: sometimes

Sneezing COLD: often

Sneezing FLU: sometimes

Sore throat COLD: often

Sore throat FLU: sometimes

Cough COLD: mild hacking cough

Cough FLU: usual, and can become severe

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