Beat the Bug:
Your Guide to Colds & Flus
from PlanetRx.com, your online pharmacy & more
How do you know it's cold and flu season? One word: ah-choo!
About 25 million to 50 million people in the United States will
get the flu this year, and more than 60 million people will catch
a cold. Will you be one of them? Here are PlanetRx.com recommendations
for beating these pesky seasonal sicknesses.
An Ounce of
There is no cure for
so it's best to avoid getting sick in the first place. A strong
immune system may help prevent the common cold or flu. Proper nutrition,
hygiene, rest, and stress management can strengthen the immune system.
Since both colds and the flu are highly contagious, good hygiene
is important. Wash your hands often and keep your hands away from
your face. Keep common surfaces in homes and offices clean to prevent
spreading the cold & flu viruses. If possible, steer clear of those
who have the flu. Adults are contagious for three to five days,
but kids can remain contagious for up to 10 days.
One look at all of the available cold
and flu products and it's easy to see why some people
don't know which product to choose. Many cold and flu remedies contain
several ingredients to treat a variety of possible symptoms. What
do PlanetRx.com pharmacists recommend? Buy products that contain
only the active ingredients you need. This will save you money and
prevent unnecessary side effects and drug interactions. Here's a
rundown of the main ingredients in cold and flu formulas:
Cold and flu remedies cannot cure or even shorten your sickness,
but most can help ease your symptoms. When looking for cold and
flu products, it's really about choosing what makes you feel the
break down congestion and promote drainage
reduce sneezing, dry out mucus, and promote rest
suppressants subdue coughs and calm prickly throats
help bring up mucus from the lungs
reduce pain and fever
Antibiotics are effective against bacteria but not against colds
or the flu, which are caused by viruses. Antibiotic overuse has
produced bacteria that are resistant to all known antibiotics, a
serious public health threat.
The next big thing: zinc nasal sprays. A study to be published in
February 2000 found that Zicam
zinc nasal spray shortened cold symptoms from almost
10 days to about three days. Zinc
lozenges are also thought to shorten cold symptoms, but be careful:
Large doses of zinc can cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Try
zinc lozenges after eating.
Many herbalists recommend goldenseal
for flu. Best known as an antibiotic (antibacterial) herb, goldenseal
also has antiviral and immune-stimulating actions. Echinacea
is also said to shorten symptoms when taken at the start of a cold
or flu. But echinacea probably won't help if taken constantly over
a long period of time.
What about vitamin
C? Doses of 500 mg four times a day may shorten cold
symptoms by about a day or so. The jury is still out on whether
vitamin C works as well for the flu as it does for colds.
and Rest (ahh…)
Mom was right: drink a lot of fluids. Flu can cause fever, and fever
is dehydrating. Sip herbal tea, juices, soups (notably chicken soup),
water, and other nonalcoholic, non-caffeinated fluids throughout
the day. Drinking a lot of fluids will help move the virus out of
your system. Hot fluids also relieve sore throat, nasal congestion,
No matter what your favorite remedy is, a cold or flu will still
have to run its course. Save your body's energy for your immune
system. Grab that book you've been meaning to read, snuggle in comfortably,
and get plenty of rest. It's the best you can do.
Learn more about caring for a cold in the PlanetRx.com
Cold & Flu eCenter. Shop for cold-relief products in
Store, or use our new Cough
& Cold Advisor to find exactly the right products for
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only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Only
your healthcare provider should diagnose your healthcare problems
and prescribe treatment.
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