This is flu season. By many accounts, this is the worst one yet. It seems everyone is sneezing and coughing around you. Respiratory illnesses, whether the common cold or influenza (“the flu”), are caused by viruses which are spread from person to person by coughing or sneezing or unclean hands.
Both colds and flu are caused by viral infections. Colds usually involve a stuffy or runny nose, scratchy or sore throat, mild cough and sometimes a fever. Cold symptoms are less intense than flu, and symptoms tend to resolve faster than flu.
Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly. A quick rinse won’t do the trick. To kill germs, communicative disease experts recommend washing with soap for 15 to 30 seconds-about as long as it takes to hum a rollicking verse of “Yankee Doodle Dandy.”
Keep your hands away from your face to reduce the chance of delivering viruses directly to your eyes or nose. One study found that people typically touched their face fifteen times in an hour.
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