All Articles Tagged "flu"

How To Avoid Getting Sick This Fall

September 30th, 2016 - By Meg Butler
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For a lot of us, it happens almost every year. The leaves change, you’re rocking a new pair of boots, and then suddenly you feel it: a tickle in your throat. You know exactly what’s coming next.

Getting a cold when the weather changes can feel like inevitable. When it cools down, it’s a lot easier to get sick. But that doesn’t mean that you have to fight the sniffles this season. Focus on avoiding all of the germs that you can out there by following these tips. You will increase your chances of avoiding a cold (and use those sick days you saved up for something a lot more fun).

Image Source: Shutterstock

Image Source: Shutterstock

Take Vitamin D3

African-American women are more likely to be low on vitamin D than most, and it’s very important during cold and flu season.

This vitamin can cut your risk of catching a cold by half, and help you fight off a bug if you do catch it. Stock up on tablets and don’t miss a day of taking them.

Now Kids with Egg Allergies Can Get Flu Shots

October 2nd, 2013 - By Rich
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As we get into flu season, doctors are once again advising everyone to get vaccinated, especially kids. It used to be that kids with egg allergies weren’t able to get flu shots, but new CDC recommendations say they can be protected, too.

The CDC’ Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices now instructs doctors to give all kids the flu shot but to keep those with egg allergies for 30 minutes of observation. Trials found that even children with life-threatening egg allergies were fine after getting the shot. Most centers administering the vaccine have practices in place to treat anaphylaxis, though doctors say it’s very, very rare for kids to experience that after getting the vaccine. Egg allergies are one of the most common food allergies for kids, though most outgrow it by the time they reach 16 or 17.

Everyone gets sick sometimes but the flu shot is a good idea. More than 21,000 kids land in the hospital each year due to the flu. It’s especially important for kids with asthma to get the shot since the flu is a respiratory problem that can complicate asthma.

Will you be getting your kids the flu shot this year?

Don’t Let The Back And Forth Weather Mess You Up: How To Sick-Proof Your Life When Those Around You Stay Ill

March 14th, 2013 - By Nicole Akoukou Thompson
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Board any train in the city, and you’ll notice that there are more people sneezing than standing –and if you know anything about public transportation, you know that’s a lot of people. In addition to the sneezing, there’s the sniffling, the snot, the coughs and a lot of phlegm. The inconsistent snowy-to-sunny from 50 to 30 degree weather hasn’t made things easier for us or our immune systems, and if you’re living like me, neither does your landlord, because he only turns on the heat sometimes. The battle to stay healthy isn’t a battle that you’re fighting alone, though it might seem that way. You’re not the only person who’s contemplating how many ounces of hand sanitizer you can fit into your handbag or calculating the distance between yourself and the man with the ambiguous cough. If you’re healthy, and you’re trying to stay that way, or you’ve been touched by sickness and it’s not something you want to get fully acquainted with, you might want to follow these steps, so you can sick-proof yourself and your life.

Scarves: There is a time to be fashionable and there’s time to be functional. Lucky for you, scarves facilitate both desires. Aside from being one of hipster’s go-to accessories, scarves do a great job of keeping your chest protected from the cold. An added bonus with scarves is that, with an additional raised wrap of the scarf, you can cover your mouth –and improve your chances of remaining healthy.

Common spaces/utilized items: Beware of faucets, door knobs, pots, pans, televisions, television remotes, window sills and etc. This doesn’t mean that you need to slip on a pair of gloves each time you touch something in your apartment, but be vigilant. If your sickly roommate is fishing through the silverware drawer or the TV remote is looking extra grimy, then do yourself a favor and wash whatever she puts her hands on and give that remote a once-over with a Lysol wipe.

Napkins: These little gems are not only valuable when you need to blow your nose, but offer one to your disgusting train-riding neighbor. The fewer germs they spread is better for you and the entire city. Also, when you’re on the train or bus, and you don’t want to put your hands on those germ-y poles, simply place a napkin in your palm, and shield yourself from whatever diseases are trying to sneak themselves into your hand.

Avoid your lover: At least in my experience, the people who will betray your health first are the ones who you love. Be it with a tongue tussle, a peck on the cheek or a prolonged hug, it’s just that easy for their sickness to become your sickness.  And while it’s easily said that you don’t care if you get sick in the midst of a passionate embrace, you’ll feel differently when you’re projectile vomiting into your kitchen sink because you couldn’t make it to the bathroom. You can certainly continue to spend time with your sweetie, just try the “hands off” approach.

Wash your hands: Hand sanitizer is all fine and dandy, but if you really want to keep the sick away, put soap in your hands, wash, and repeat. It’s proven that soap and water is much more effective at keeping you healthy.

Wash your bedding: If you’re getting over being sick or a sick person has been in your sphere, make sure that you’re washing anything that might be contaminated. It’d suck if you’d successfully navigated the city, keeping yourself healthy, only to fall victim of germs that have been nesting on your pillowcase.

Sanitize your keyboard/cellphone: Most people forget about their computers and cellphones when considering what length to go to in order to stay healthy. We touch our keyboards and cellphones more than we touch anything these days, so it’s important that we keep them clean, after all, you don’t know who else might be touching your keyboard when you’re away.

Vitamin C & Ginger Tea: Everyone knows that Vitamin C is usually what the doctor ordered. It’s an essential nutrient, has antioxidant activity and is a natural antihistamine. And, Ginger is a short term relief for nausea, can prevent the flu, and can relieve stomach aches.

Lactaid-Free: Steer clear of the milky stuff when you’re trying to stay healthy. Dairy encourages the production of mucus. Ewww.

Shower an hour before you head out: There’s nothing like that fresh and clean feeling, until that tidy feeling leaves you ill because you’ve caught pneumonia. Make sure you allow yourself enough time to properly dry off, so you don’t end up singing the “I’m so sick” blues.

“I have sinuses/allergies”: This may make me sound like a paranoid nut, but I tend not to believe a sneezy person who tells me that they have sinuses or allergies. Somewhere in my mind, I feel like they’re simply trying to keep me from fearing their sickness. My advice, treat them how you would treat any other sick person. Run.

Flu Epidemic Keeps Kids from Perfect Attendance Awards

February 13th, 2013 - By Rich
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At the end of the year, kids pick up awards in math, English and for the most exact students, perfect attendance. But, according to Today Health, many students won’t even get have a shot at the recognition this year. Schools across the country have decided to remove the perfect attendance award because so many students—and teachers—have had to stay home due to the flu epidemic.

Round Meadow Elementary in Hidden Hills, California, is one of those schools. Under normal circumstances, Round Meadow has very strict criteria for perfect attendance: no absences, no lates and no early singouts. But school officials are considering canceling the perfect attendance award for the 2013-14 school year. Many, many students have already been sick this year and principal Jeremy Resnick wants to discourage parents from sending sick kids to school, though it seems some parents still do. For now, Principal Resnick isn’t cancelling the award but he wants to make it a little less glamorous than in previous years so as not to tempt sick kids.

Of course, school attendance is important and kids should go as long as it’s safe to. The Center for Disease Control advises people to stay home as long as their fever stays below 100 degrees without medication for at least 24 hours.

Some schools hope they can motivate healthy-enough students to come to school by still giving out attendance awards, but for good attendance (maybe 95 percent) rather than perfect attendance.

Common Fever Meds May Lead to Kidney Condition in Kids

January 28th, 2013 - By Rich
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As the flu reaches record levels across the country, an Indiana University study has some troubling news for parents trying to handle sick kids. Common over the counter medications like ibuprofen or naproxen (the active ingredients in Advil and Aleve, respectively) carry the risk of kidney injury to children.

Though several smaller reports have suggested what the Indiana University study found, theirs is the first large-scale study to make the claim. Using eleven years of medical records from Riley Hospital for Children, they found that of the children who had been treated for acute kidney injury, roughly 3 percent of those cases were linked to the use of over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs. Most of these children had been given the recommended doses.

Patients under 5 years old who had taken NSAIDs needed to be treated with dialysis temporarily and were more likely to spend time in the intensive care unit than older children.

What does this mean for parents trying to take care of their little patients at home? Instead of an NSAID, try acetaminophen, such as Tylenol. But doctors say that fever during an illness like the flu is normal, so the best alternative may be having kids tough it out as their bodies fight the infection.

Flu Season Tips: Avoid the Flu with these 10 Foods

January 22nd, 2013 - By Rich
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Flu season is in full effect. It is imperative to keep your body in tip top shape, to avoid catching the virus. Thankfully, you can get adequate amounts of nutrients from your diet. Key ingredients to boost your immune system include vitamin C, zinc and vitamin E. Increase the amount of each of these nutrients during the flu season to help decrease your chances of getting sick! Hit the flip for more information.

Flu Season Tips: Avoid The Flu With These 10 Foods

When Your Kid Needs the Hospital for the Flu

January 22nd, 2013 - By Rich
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We’ve been hearing plenty about the flu pandemic this season, which especially dangerous for babies and young children and their undeveloped immune systems. Parents must be diligent about spotting the warning signs of flu infection early in order to avoid other serious health issues. tells parents to seek emergency medical attention for their children if they have any of the following symptoms:

  • Fever of 102°F or above with at least two of the following symptoms: sore throat, body aches, fatigue, diarrhea, runny nose and chills
  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath or purple or blue discoloration of the lips
  • A cough and/or sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, headaches and/or body aches
  • Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen, sudden dizziness, severe or persistent vomiting, seizures, flu-like symptoms that improve but then return with fever and worse cough

The best protection against the flu is the flu vaccine, especially for children who are between 6 months and 5 years old or have chronic diseases like asthma or diabetes. Lastly, advises, “When caring for a child with the flu, limit your contact with others as much as possible, to help to prevent the spread of the flu.”

Tips to Combat Flu Season

January 16th, 2013 - By Rich
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If someone in my home coughs or sneezes, I’m like a nurse running to their rescue with tissue and a check of the forehead for a fever! My family jokes that I’m the sneeze police but I have good reason to worry. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it’s estimated that five to ten percent of the population in the United States will get the seasonal flu. Influenza is a contagious respiratory illness. While I’m a healthy, vibrant person, I’ve experienced the flu and it’s an illness that I would not wish on my worst enemy.

An even scarier thought is the probability of one of my kids getting sick with the flu, which in some cases can be deadly. An especially “at risk” population for developing serious flu conditions are older people, young children and people with health conditions (asthma, lung disease, heart disease, etc.). While just coughing and sneezing does not mean you have the flu, there are some common symptoms to be on the lookout for: fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headaches, chills, fatigue and sometimes vomiting and diarrhea.

Yes, mommies and daddies, the flu is serious.

To even think of one of my kids bedridden with a potentially life threatening illness is enough for me to make an appointment to the pediatrician office for a flu vaccine. While waiting for a vaccination, what can a parent do to protect their children?

Here are some tips on how to protect your children and keep them illness free during these changing seasons:

1. Make sure you wash hands frequently with antibacterial soap. Using antibacterial soap will help wash away germs that kids spread by touching items and people.
2. Clean and disinfect surfaces daily. There are tons of disinfectants on the market. Buy some and spray down counters, doorknobs, light switches and even toys on a daily basis.
3. Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue or the inside of your arm. We always tell our children to cover their mouths when coughing or sneezing but using their hands can make others sick. Once they’re done with the tissues immediately throw it away.
4. Stay away from sick people. This seems like common sense but if someone is sneezing, coughing or has a fever stay clear of them—even if that means staying secluded in your house or in your office to avoid getting sick. This is increasingly difficult when parents send sick kids to school but teachers should be sending sick kids to the nurse’s office to avoid infecting other kids.

Across the country, the seasons are changing and with that change comes the threat of the flu. Do your part and protect your kids and yourself!


The Flu Epidemic Is Hitting People and Companies Hard

January 15th, 2013 - By Tonya Garcia
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A funeral for six-year-old Tahlia Johnson, who died of the flu. AP Photo/LM Otero

A funeral for six-year-old Tahlia Johnson, who died of the flu. AP Photo/LM Otero

The Centers for Disease Control made it official late last week: the flu outbreak has reached epidemic levels with 47 states reporting flu activity and 4.3 percent of outpatient visits attributed to flu symptoms. The threshold to reach epidemic level is 2.2. percent.

So this is bad news, right? For most people, yes. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that job absenteeism spikes during flu season, and this is the worst in a decade. According to sources speaking to The Wall Street Journalbusinesses will lose billions because of this situation.

But not everyone is complaining. Ad Age reports that, unsurprisingly, companies in the cold and flu relief area are booming. Reckitt Benckiser, makers of Mucinex and Delsym, and Johnson & Johnson, which counts Children’s Motrin and Tylenol among its brands, are among the companies in this space that have seen an eight percent rise in sales.

And with efforts to avoid getting sick at a high, Lysol, Clorox, and other disinfectant brands are getting a 22 percent boost.

As we’ve previously reported, the best way to stave illness is to get vaccinated. But only 40 percent of Americans have done so for a variety of reasons, some good, some bad. The New Yorker cautions that even if you’re one of those people who refuse to get the vaccine, keep in mind that if you do get sick, you can pass it on to the most vulnerable in your family — children and the elderly. Or if you choose not to get it for yourself, perhaps you should press for members of these demographics to do so. As many as 45,000 Americans die every year from the flu. (!) Twenty people nationwide have died already, including six-year-old Tahlia Johnson, who’s funeral is pictured above. According to AP Images, it’s not certain whether she was vaccinated.

We did a little more digging to see if there’s anything more — anything at all — that companies can do to help employees. Unfortunately, the much-discussed hand washing and vaccination suggestions are really the only things we could find. Although this article suggests that companies can go an extra step toward bringing vaccinations to the office on a special day, making it available to anyone interested. With billions in losses at risk, it might be worth the trouble.

The Flu Is Spreading: Now There Are Vaccine Shortages and Offices Are Infested With Germs

January 11th, 2013 - By Tonya Garcia
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At this point, everyone knows someone who’s is or has suffered from a bad case of the flu. Boston has declared a health emergency because 700 cases have been reported and 18 people have died. More than 40 other states are also seeing widespread flu infections. Politicians have been all over Twitter telling people to get vaccinated. And the CDC is expected to issue an update today for what is already being called “one of the worst flu seasons in years.” And we’re only at the start of it.

Last year was a light year for flu cases, so this year’s spike has got everyone scrambling (and coughing, and sneezing…).  There are different strains of the flu and, reports TIME, we’re lucky that the vaccines that are available this year match the prevalent strain that’s making everyone sick. The best advice is get vaccinated.

According to Reuters, Sanofi is the largest vaccine provider in the US and they’re already working on next year’s batch (the vaccine is different from year to year). So if you haven’t been vaccinated and would still like to be, it’s not too late, but you might have to do some searching.

For children, there are some shortages as well, but, on top of that, there are also shortages of Tamiflu, the medicine given to children who are already sick. “In the meantime, pharmacists can make a substitute by dissolving Tamiflu capsules in a sweet liquid, according to a spokeswoman for Roche’s Genentech unit, which makes Tamiflu,” the article says. Even with the shortage, Reuters says that Roche, the makers of Tamiflu, will see a business boost as a result of the high demand.

Also, be aware that if you want to make a trip to the hospital, they’re also overwhelmed by the number of patients. Those with loved ones admitted for other reasons may also find visitor restrictions as hospitals take steps to protect patients whose immune systems are weakened.

Even if you take measures to keep from getting sick, you still have to be around other people at work. The workplace can be a virtual petrie dish of germs and sickness. The CDC says, besides the vaccine, lots of hand washing and avoidance are the way to go to protect yourself. “[S]o  if you work in an office, embrace your social anxiety issues and shut the door,” writes Bloomberg Businessweek. If you’re lucky enough to have a job where you can telecommute from home, that’s also an option.