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    by Ngozi Osuagwu, MD | December 2nd, 2019


    The holiday season has officially started and I do not believe that there is anyone who wants the flu or cold at this time. Maybe this is the reason we have National Influenza Vaccination Week during the first week of December as a reminder that we can do something to reduce our risk of developing a cold or flu. 

    How do we protect ourselves?

    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 that germs 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 are no guarantees 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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