It’s official, cold and flu season is upon us, and as far as I can tell it’s the worst we’ve had in a long time. For the first time in over two years I wasn’t able to avoid catching a cold (over three weeks ago) and still have a nagging cough to prove it. Thankfully preventative help is here for the rest of you! Registered pharmacist and journalist Jim Morelli joined me earlier this week to talk about various precautions we should all take to avoid catching a cold or flu this season, and his number one advice for treating the cold or flu bug once it’s already hit.
Candace Rose: With cold and flu season upon us, what kind of precautions should we take to avoid getting sick?
Jim Morelli: “Well, cold and flu season is definitely upon us and of course it will get worse. But right now we are dealing with a very intense allergy season across the country, and that’s because we had a very warm summer. We’re expecting this allergy season to last until the end of November. So a lot of the sniffling and sneezing that you’re hearing now or experiencing is probably due more to allergies than cold and flu. With allergies there’s one area of the body that we don’t think too much about getting affected, and those are our lips. They really dry out from allergies and you want to keep on hand something that’s going to heal and soothe your lips. I have something here it’s called Blistex Cold & Allergy Lip Soother. This contains soothing ingredients, but also an advanced analgesic (that’s a pain reliever). These will really help to alleviate that lip discomfort and provide relief to those who’ve got allergies, colds or the flu.”
Candace Rose: What can we do to protect ourselves from the inside out?
Jim Morelli: “Well, I think we should start first of all with exercise. You want to get 30 minutes a day. All you have to do is walk. That’s it. That really works to boost your immune system, and really helps every part of your body. Reestablish healthy eating habits now. But now that the summer is over you want to get back to good habits, especially with the holidays coming. Look, we’re going to binge and we’re going to splurge, and we really want to be ready to do that and we want to be in good shape going in and establishing healthy habits – and that would include taking a multivitamin supplement. I have a great example here, this is the Life Extension Two-Per-Day. Now, compared to the one-a-day supplements, this contains up to 50 times more potency when it comes to vitamins and minerals. ConsumerLabs.com rated this number one. This is a multi-nutrient and you can find out more about it on their website which is LEF.org/Fall.”
Candace Rose: What about for those who are already sick. What can they do to shorten the life of the cold and/or flu virus or maybe even allergies?
Jim Morelli: “Well, first of all for colds, I would say to make sure you are well hydrated and you want to make sure you get enough sleep. Normally the cold duration is somewhere around three to five days; and the difference between a cold and the flu by the way is you won’t see fever and you won’t see other symptoms outside of like stuffiness of the head and that kind of discomfort – that’s how you differentiate by the two. Now with flu, you can take prescription medications that will shorten the duration of the flu. They shorten it generally by one to two days, but a lot of people say that is worth it because flu is such a miserable disease to have. If you’ve got the cold or flu, obviously you should be staying home. You should not be going to work. Not getting enough rest, and not getting hydration- you really could get sicker. So that’s where you want to be careful.”
Candace Rose: What else can we do to make sure we have good health routines this year?
Jim Morelli: “You want to step up your hand washing. Hand sanitation is so very important to curb the spread of disease. I believe in the judicious use of hand sanitizers. I am not one of these people who is constantly squirting this stuff onto my hands or everything I touch. I prefer hand washing 15 to 20 seconds with warm water, and any kind of soap will do. Just get in the habit of doing it a little more frequently as we enter cold and flu season.
And the flu shot! Some people need the flu shot, and they really, really should get it because the flu can be a life threatening disorder. Find out if you’re one of those people, and get it now because you want your body to have time to build up immunity. Flu season lasts into April, and sometimes into May so we’ve got lots of time to get sick here and we want to prevent that.”
Candace Rose: Do you have any additional tips or information you’d like to share?
Jim Morelli: “I think it’s very important not to huddle inside all the time in the winter. That is our tendency; it’s cooler and we want to stay inside. But guess what? That’s where the germs are, and that’s really for the most part why we get sicker in the winter time. It’s not the weather necessarily, it’s the fact that we’re clustered inside with other people who may be sick or carrying around germs. Get outside and get in the sunshine, or not in the sunshine. Get outside. Breathe some fresh air. Do not lock yourself all the time in the colder months.”
Candace Rose: Where can we go for more information?
Jim Morelli: “Well, first of all, about the flu – go to CDC.gov. Everything you need to know is there, and what you need to know about the vaccination. Go to MayoClinic.com, that’s a site I love because they have so much information there, and general health information that’s easy to read. ConsumerLabs.com will tell you all about the issue of vitamins and supplements, and making sure that they’re potent the way that they should be. And then you can also go to the LEF.org/Fall website to learn about the Life Extension Two-Per-Day.”