Can A Runny Nose Be Prevented
Practicing good hygiene is important and can often help stop germs from spreading. A runny nose is a symptom of some contagious conditions. Here are some simple tips to stop such germs from spreading:
- Wash your hands often.
- Throw away used tissues after blowing or wiping your nose.
- Keep away from those who have colds or infections.
- Eat healthily and exercise regularly to help boost your immune system.
- Cough and sneeze into the inside of your elbow, not into your hand.
- Clean and disinfect common surfaces such as tables and countertops, toys, door handles and bathroom fixtures.
Why Do Colds Occur In The Winter
You can catch a cold any time of year, but its more likely during colder months. In winter, people stay indoors and are in closer contact with each other.
A recent study in mice suggests cold temperatures may also affect your immune systems response. Researchers found that when cooler air lowered nose temperature, mouse immune systems had a harder time stopping the rhinovirus from multiplying. The same may be true in humans.
What Happens To Viruses And Bacteria In Freezing Temperatures
Unfortunately, you can not actually kill germs just by freezing them. While freezing temperatures may stop a virus in its tracks momentarily, as soon as it reaches room temperature you are in danger again.
To kill viruses effectively, it is easy to boil the water to a high temperature, but what happens if you freeze the water? Freezing water over does not kill any of the viruses or diseases that it may contain.
However, if there are viruses in the water they will become dormant when frozen. When the water reheats, the virus will wake back up again.
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Flu Virus Fortified In Colder Weather
A new finding may explain why the flu virus is more infectious in cold winter months than during warmer seasons.
Flu is caused by a group of viruses known as influenza viruses. They usually spread from person to person through coughs and sneezes. Flu symptoms can include fever, chills, body aches, runny nose, sore throat, headache and extreme exhaustion. Healthy people aren’t usually seriously threatened by seasonal flu, but it can be severe for the very young, the elderly and those with a weakened immune system.
In October 2007, researchers found that guinea pigs sick with the flu were more likely to get other guinea pigs sick at colder rather than warmer temperatures. Meanwhile, a team of researchers from NIH’s National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism were performing experiments that would lend insight into this phenomenon.
The outer membrane of the influenza virus is made chiefly of molecules known as lipids. Lipidswhich include oils, fats, waxes and cholesteroldon’t mix with water. The NIH researchers used a sophisticated technique called magic angle spinning nuclear magnetic resonance, which was developed and previously tested in NIAAA’s laboratories, to investigate how the virus’s outer membrane responds to variations in temperature. Their findings were published online on March 2, 2008, in Nature Chemical Biology.
Going Out In The Cold Or With A Wet Head Will Cause A Cold
Youve heard them all before from your mother when you were a kid, and you may have told your kids the same thing, but the truth is youre no less likely to catch a cold if youre warm and dry indoors than if youre wet and cold outside. Viral colds tend to be more common this time of year for a few reasons. Its colder outside, so we spend more time indoors in closer contact with each other when someone sneezes or coughs, youre more likely to be close to them and catch their cold. Also, viruses tend to live longer in lower winter humidity, so they stick around longer. But actually being wet or cold doesnt make you more likely to get sick. So while you may think those teenagers wearing shorts and no hats with wet hair are crazy walking around like that when its freezing, theyre not any more likely to get sick than if they had dry hair and were all bundled up.
Dr. Wolf, a Kids Plus Doc since 2000, is a Shareholder and CFO of the practice.
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Helping Prevent The Flu For Teenagers
WHERE: THE SCHOOL BUS
As your son or daughter takes the bus to and from school, they are exposed to a host of germs on public transportation. Encourage your children to wash their hands as soon as they get to school. To help prevent bringing flu and cold germs back home, make handwashing with soap after school a house rule.
WHERE: THE CLASSROOM
School desks can be home to 400 times more germs than the toilet seat, so it is safe to say they are a hotspot for germs, especially in schools where children are changing classrooms every hour or so. A gentle reminder to your teenager about the importance of regular handwashing, especially before eating, is a good way to help protect them from cold and flu.
WHERE: CELL PHONE
Studies have shown that mobile phones carry more germs than a toilet seat. Remind your kids to never use their mobile phones while they are using the bathroom and encourage the whole family to wipe their phones every day with a Lysol® Disinfecting Wipe to help prevent the spread of cold and flu germs.
What Is The Cold What Is The Flu
Most colds are caused by rhinoviruses, though other pathogens like coronavirus, parainfluenza and respiratory syncytial virus are sources, too. All can lead to serious complications like bronchitis and pneumonia, especially in individuals with respiratory conditions like asthma, and in those with compromised immune systems.
Influenza A is the main family of viruses behind the flu in humans. The CDC estimates 12,000 to 56,000 American deaths are attributable to the flu each year, while the World Health Organization estimates the virus kills up to 650,000 people worldwide.
Viruses are nonliving pieces of genetic code DNA or RNA covered in protein coats known as capsids. Flu viruses and many cold viruses also have a viral envelope, meaning the capsid is covered by two layers of lipids similar to the cell membranes found on organisms.
Individuals with cold or flu infections can spread contagious viruses before symptoms begin. Photo by Subbotina Anna/Adobe Stock
Viruses cant multiply on their own they must infect the cells of a living creature. Because they arent actually living entities, using terms like live or survive to describe viruses outside the body can cause confusion, said Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease.
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How Does Your Nose Work To Protect Your Body
Your breathing process starts in your nose. Air gets into your lungs through your nose. It helps filter, humidify, warm or cool the air that comes through it so that the air that gets to your lungs is clean.
A special lining of mucosa, or a moist tissue, covers the area inside your nose and consists of many mucus-producing glands. As bacteria, allergens, dust or other harmful particles come into the nose, the mucus traps them. Mucus contains antibodies, or enzymes, which kill unwanted bacteria and viruses.
The mucosa lining also includes cilia, tiny hair-like structures. The cilia are continually in motion and move the collected harmful particles and the mucus that they are trapped in through your nose into the back of your throat. Its then swallowed and destroyed by the acid in your stomach. Mucus and particles can also be coughed up or sneezed out.
When outdoor temperatures turn cold, the pace of this process slows down. Many times, the mucus stays in your nose and then drips or dribbles out.
What Other Symptoms May Come With A Runny Nose
Postnasal drip is a side effect of too much mucus. It occurs when the mucus goes down the back of your throat and is swallowed, which may lead to a cough or sore throat.
Sometimes, a runny nose and a congested, or stuffy, nose are seen together. Congestion occurs when the tissues lining the nose become swollen and make it difficult to breathe. The swelling is due to inflamed blood vessels. Mucus may begin to run out of your nose.
A runny nose due to a cold or flu may be accompanied by fatigue, sore throat, cough, facial pressure and sometimes fever.
A runny nose due to allergies may be accompanied by sneezing and itchy, watery eyes.
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Germs Don’t Care About Cold
Extreme cold temperatures can kill some germs, but the cold temperatures you can typically achieve at home can only slow them down. It’s great that you’re looking for alternatives to things like heat, alcohol, or disinfectant cleaners for getting rid of germs, but cold water or air probably isn’t your best option.
What Are The Symptoms For The Flu
More or less the same thing, except for the loss of taste or smell.
COVID-19 symptoms usually appear two to 14 days after exposure to the coronavirus. Influenza symptoms start to show up about one to four days after exposure to an influenza virus.
But COVID-19 can cause more serious illnesses in some people than the flu, as well as complications such as blood clots, lasting respiratory problems.
Do you have symptoms of the flu or COVID-19? Here is how you can tell the difference.
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What Is The Flu
In order to discuss why we have a flu season, we must first understand what the flu is. The flu, also called influenza, is a viral respiratory illness. A virus is a microscopic infectious agent that invades the cells of your body and makes you sick. The flu is often confused with another virus, the common cold, because of the similarity in symptoms, which can include a cough, sore throat, and stuffy nose. However, flu symptoms also include fever, cold sweats, aches throughout the body, headache, exhaustion, and even some gastro-intestinal symptoms, such as vomiting and diarrhea .
The flu is highly contagious. Adults are able to spread the virus one day prior to the appearance of symptoms and up to seven days after symptoms begin. Influenza is typically spread via the coughs and sneezes of an infected person . Around 200,000 people in the United States are hospitalized each year because of the flu, and of these people, about 36,000 die. The flu is most serious for the elderly, the very young, or people who have a weakened immune system .
What Is The Difference Between A Cold And Flu
Influenza and the common cold are both contagious respiratory illnesses, but they are caused by different viruses. Flu is caused by influenza viruses only, whereas the common cold can be caused by a number of different viruses, including rhinoviruses, parainfluenza, and seasonal coronaviruses.Seasonal coronaviruses should not be confused with SARS-COV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Because flu and the common cold have similar symptoms, it can be difficult to tell the difference between them based on symptoms alone. In general, flu is worse than the common cold, and symptoms are typically more intense and begin more abruptly. Colds are usually milder than flu. People with colds are more likely to have a runny or stuffy nose than people who have flu. Colds generally do not result in serious health problems, such as pneumonia, bacterial infections, or hospitalizations. Flu can have serious associated complications.
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Cold Air Can Make Viruses Easier To Spread
Viruses are actually protected by cold air. According to the National Institutes of Health, cold temperatures allow the virus’s outer layer, it’s envelope, to harden into a “rubbery gel.” This protects the virus, allowing it to better transmit, or spread.
Cold, dry conditions can also increase the spread of germs. “The dryer air may also allow the virus to stay airborne longer and increase the chance of another person coming in contact through inhalation,” says Bilsky. This has to do with respiratory droplet formations. In dry air, the droplets remain smaller and lighter, allowing them to spread further. However, in more humid conditions, droplets can be larger and heavier, making them fall to the ground faster.
On the other hand, hot temperatures are more likely to kill viral germs. Instead of a virus’s envelope hardening, it can melt, and it isn’t as well fit to transmit.
“When you have heat, there’s energy. This allows entropy. Basically, things fall apart,” says Daniel Griffin, M.D., board certified infectious disease specialist at New York-Presbyterian Hospital. “When you get above a certain temperature, you can actually denature the proteins , or have the proteins lose their functional shape.” But that doesn’t mean that certain viruses haven’t adapted to survive in warmer temperatures.
What Is The Omicron Variant Of Covid
Also called B.1.1.529, WHO designated the variant a variant of concern on Nov. 26 and named it omicron after the 15th letter of the Greek alphabet.
WHO began using the Greek alphabet as a variant classification system in May to simplify understanding and avoid stigmatizing countries where theyre first identified.
South Africa reported the first case of the omicron variant to WHO on Nov. 24. Its first known infection was from samples collected Nov. 9, but Botswana also had samples collected Nov. 11 with the variant present. WHO lists “multiple countries” for its earliest documented samples as a result.
More: Study shows COVID-19 spread in U.S., Europe before tests found it, gives insight on omicron
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Vitamin C Echinacea And Zinc Will Make You Better Faster
Not necessarily. There have been mixed results with each of these. Some studies suggest a minimal shortening of cold symptoms, and some studies show no improved outcome at all. Many of these studies have used widely varied doses, and there is very little research on these in children. We know that being deficient in vitamins and minerals can harm your immune system, but theres no proof that taking extra doses will help. And in large doses, theyre often associated with significant side effects like rashes, stomach upset, and even damage to your sense of smell . Bottom line: best thing to do is make sure you have a healthy, well-balanced diet.
Pale Or Discolored Skin
They say the rare complication in serious Covid cases means oxygen levels in the blood are low.
The CDC called it an “emergency warning sign” and said people should seek help immediately if you notice the change in color, along with trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, inability to stay awake, or new confusion.
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Loss Of Appetite Nausea And Vomiting
Diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and appetite loss have been reported in a number of patients across age groups.
Theres no question at this point that GI symptoms can be a manifestation of Covid-19, William Chey, M.D., professor of gastroenterology and nutrition sciences at the University of Michigan, told AARP.
The symptoms can come on without the more typical and recognized markers of a coronavirus infection, such as fever and cough, the doctor said.
Experts explained that stomach issues can come from the virus infecting cells that line the GI tract, or as a result of your body fighting the infection.
If you experience a sudden onset of these symptoms, you’re encouraged to check with your doctor.
Over The Counter Cold And Cough Medicines Will Cure A Cold Faster
The bad news is, they wont. In fact, especially in younger kids, cold medicines can actually make things worse by masking symptoms or having unwanted side effects. Tylenol and Motrin can help bring a fever down and make a child more comfortable, but they wont make them better faster. Cough and cold medicines may take the edge off of older kids symptoms, but they wont make them better faster.
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How Best To Protect Yourself
Because flu viruses dont often last beyond nine hours, Greatorexs work suggests public spaces like classrooms, offices and kitchens that are not populated at night will usually free of contagious flu viruses the next morning. But for those who want to be more proactive, Auwaerter recommends sanitizing surfaces periodically with wipes or other chemicals.
Chlorine, hydrogen peroxide, soaps, detergents or alcohol-based gels all disrupt the capsules of the viruses, and theyre no longer capable of being infectious, Auwaerter said.
What If I’m Vaccinated Can I Still Get Covid
Yes. The three approved COVID vaccines are amazingly effective, but they’re not 100%. A very small number of fully-vaccinated people will still get sick.
Those vaccinated can still become breakthrough cases. They may not feel sick. Still, they could carry similar viral loads to unvaccinated carriers in their nose and throat, according to the CDC. Although delta isnt necessarily any more lethal than other variant, it can kill huge numbers of people simply because it infects so many more, said Dr. Eric Topol, founder and director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute.
Also, if you are vaccinated, you may be protected against the virus but you can still spread it to others who may not be vaccinated or may be immunocompromised.
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What Are The Symptoms For A Cold
Like COVID, the symptoms of a cold are often coughing, sneezing, a runny or stuffy nose, a sore throat, tiredness and sometimes a fever. Symptoms usually appear one to three days after exposure to a cold-causing virus.
Unlike COVID, a cold is usually harmless and cold-sufferers generally recover in three to 10 days.