Cold and Flu Season: Facts and Myths About Staying Healthy
While December often evokes images of holiday meals with friends and family, cold and flu season can throw a wrench in those joyful events. That’s why This Week’s blog post focuses on ways to avoid getting sick during cold and flu season. We’ll explore the effectiveness of antibacterial soaps, ways to boost immunity, and how to stay fit while sick. So pull up a cup of lemon-ginger tea and get ready to learn how to stay healthy through the holidays.
Can antibacterial soap help stop cold and flu bugs?
Unfortunately, the answer is no. First of all, cold and flu bugs are viruses—not bacteria—so these antibacterial soaps won’t eliminate those cold and flu germs. Additionally, antibacterial soaps and wipes are no better at killing bacteria than regular soap, according to research. In fact, the constant use of antibacterial soaps might increase the risk of antibiotic-resistant infections. So does washing hands in general help stop the spread of cold and flu microbes? Absolutely. According to the CDC, washing hands thoroughly with plain soap and water is one of the most effective ways to stop cold and flu bugs from spreading. Alternatively, alcohol-based hand wipes can also be effective, as long as they are used on the entire hand and in between fingers. For more tips on how to stop the spread of cold and flu germs, take our daily quiz.
Does chicken soup really help cure a cold?
Possibly! According to research, chicken soup may contain anti-inflammatory compounds that helps move mucus out of the system faster. Chicken soup might also relieve upper respiratory tract infections better than hot water alone. Some other ways to boost immunity during cold and flu season include aerobic exercise (at least 5 times a week), eating DHA omega-3 fatty acids (found in oily fish), and getting at least 7-8 hours of quality sleep. For more immune-boosting tips, take our quiz of the day.
Can running make you sick?
Well that depends on how sick you already are. In general, if your symptoms are above the neck, i.e. runny nose, headache, sore throat, it’s safe to run at a slower “recovery” pace. However, if your sickness includes a cough or body aches, then running can increase risk of muscle damage or injury and therefore should be avoided. After intense exercise, most runners have a depressed immune system for up to 72 hours—making them more vulnerable to cold and flu infections. During this window, it’s best to be more vigilant about washing hands as well as minimizing contact with others who might be sick. If recovering from a cold or flu, the rule of thumb is to wait one full day after symptoms have disappeared to return to training pace. For more tips on staying active during cold and flu season, take our featured quiz.
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