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    IS IT A COLD OR IS IT THE FLU?

    by Ngozi Osuagwu, MD | December 2nd, 2018

    IS IT A COLD OR IS IT THE FLU?

    In every venue I have been at this past week, there have been people who were sick – sneezing and coughing.  It would be great if people who were sick, stayed home, but that is not going to happen. We will be exposed. I think it is important to know the how the symptoms of the cold and flu differ.

    I find it very interesting that December 2nd  – 8th  is National Handwashing Awareness Week and National Influenza Vaccination Week.   Although there is no vaccine against the cold, there is a vaccine against the flu and it is not too late to get it. For both the cold and the flu, one of the prevention strategies is to wash your hands often with soap and water.

    How do we protect ourselves from getting a cold or the flu?

    1. Get your flu vaccine – Although colds and the flu are caused by viruses, the flu vaccine will only protect against the flu. It is not too late to get the vaccine.
    2. Wash your hands often with soap and water – when washing your hands, it should be for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, you can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. The hand sanitizer should contain at least 60% alcohol. Read the label. Do not assume that all hand sanitizers contain this amount of alcohol.
    3. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands –Believe it or not this is easier said than done. I consciously have to think about not rubbing my face.
    4. Disinfect frequently touched surfaces – computers and phones especially at the work place. This is a great reminder of the germs that are present on the door knobs.
    5. If you are diagnosed with the flu, take all the medication prescribed by your physician.
    6. Take a multivitamin – I know that there is controversy about taking vitamins, but I believe that it is important that your body gets all its nutrients.
    7. Tongue scraping should be part of your dental routine.
    8. Find ways to reduce stress – exercise and meditation can help.
    9. Get your sleep – you want to be well rested especially during the winter months.
    10. Stay away from people who are sick.

    There is no guarantee that you will not get sick but at least you have made an effort to reduce your risk of catching a cold or getting the flu.

     

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    The book discusses common gynecological and women’s health issues in a series of witty and entertaining letters. These letters, all educational, offer suggestions on what approaches to take in tackling the medical problems that typically bring women to an ob/gynecologist. The letters are spiced with art, a poem and quotes. Although its emphasis is on gynecology and women’s health, it touches on some other medical issues that make women visit their doctors.

    The second half of the book briefly discusses the most common gynecological conditions and also provides an overview of sexually transmitted infections. A list of annotated websites dealing with the different topics in the book is provided for the reader who wants to pursue each subject in depth.




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