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  • Does Cold Cause a Cold?

    Cough-Cold-2Yale researchers released a new study which suggests that cool temperatures can play a role in causing the common cold, by inhibiting the virus-fighting ability of cells in the nose.

    It's a commonly held belief that catching a chill can bring on a nasty cold. However, researchers have long argued the point, noting that people can transmit and catch cold viruses year round. Now, in a paper published in the journal PNAS, a team of researchers studying mice has concluded that most rhinoviruses reproduce more efficiently at temperatures slightly lower than body temperature, or 98.6 degrees.

    So... Stay warm and Stay Well!cold-sniffles

    Does Chilly Weather Really Cause a Cold?

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  • Snot a fun way to spend the Holidays!

    In much of the Northern Hemisphere, this is prime time for colds, influenza (flu), and other respiratory illnesses. While contagious viruses are active year-round, fall and winter are when we're all most vulnerable to them... Get Set for a Healthy Winter Season

    While contagious viruses are active year-round, fall and winter are when we're most vulnerable to them. This is due in large part to people spending more time indoors with others when the weather gets cold.

    Fortunately, we can fight back with several FDA-approved medicines and vaccines.

    Prevention Tips

    Get vaccinated against flu.

    With rare exceptions, everyone 6 months of age and older should be vaccinated against flu. Flu vaccination, available as a shot or a nasal spray, can reduce flu illnesses, doctors’ visits, missed work and school, and prevent flu-related hospitalizations and deaths.

    It’s ideal to be vaccinated by October, although vaccination into January and beyond can still offer protection. Annual vaccination is needed because flu viruses are constantly changing, flu vaccines may need to be updated, and because a person’s immune protection from the vaccine declines over time. Annual vaccination is especially important for people at high risk for developing serious complications from flu. These people include:

    • young children under 5 years, but especially those younger than 2.
    • pregnant women
    • people with certain chronic health conditions (like asthma, diabetes, or heart and lung disease)
    • people age 65 years and older

    Vaccination also is especially important for health care workers, and others who live with or care for people at high risk for serious flu-related complications. Since babies under 6 months of age are too young to get a flu vaccine, their mother should get a flu shot during her pregnancy to protect them throughout pregnancy and up to 6 months after birth. Additionally, all of the baby’s caregivers and close contacts should be vaccinated as well.

    Wash your hands often. Teach children to do the same. Both colds and flu can be passed through contaminated surfaces, including the hands. FDA says that while soap and water are best for hand hygiene, alcohol-based hand rubs may also be used. However, dirt or blood on hands can render the hand rubs unable to kill bacteria.

    Try to limit exposure to infected people. Keep infants away from crowds for the first few months of life.

    Practice healthy habits.

    • Eat a balanced diet.
    • Get enough sleep.
    • Exercise.
    • Do your best to keep stress in check.

    KleenexAlready Sick?

    Usually, colds have to run their course. Gargling with salt water may relieve a sore throat. And a cool-mist humidifier may help relieve stuffy noses.

    Here are other steps to consider:

    • Call your health care professional. Start the treatment early.
    • Limit your exposure to other people. Cover your mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
    • Stay hydrated and rested. Avoid alcohol and caffeinated products which may dehydrate you.
    • Talk to your health care professional to find out what will work best for you.

    In addition to over-the-counter (OTC) medicines, there are FDA-approved prescription medications for treating flu. Cold and flu complications may include bacterial infections (e.g., bronchitis, sinusitis, ear infections, and pneumonia) that could require antibiotics.

    Taking OTC Products

    Read medicine labels carefully and follow the directions. People with certain health conditions, such as high blood pressure, should check with a health care professional or pharmacist before taking a new cough and cold medicine.

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    Choose OTC medicines appropriate for your symptoms. To unclog a stuffy nose, use nasal decongestants. Cough suppressants quiet coughs; expectorants loosen mucus; antihistamines help stop a runny nose and sneezing; and pain relievers can ease fever, headaches, and minor aches.

    Check the medicine's side effects. Medications can cause drowsiness and interact with food, alcohol, dietary supplements, and each other. It’s best to tell your health care professional and pharmacist about every medical product and supplement you are taking.

    Check with a health care professional before giving medicine to children.

    See a health care professional if you aren't getting any better. With children, be alert for high fevers and for abnormal behavior such as unusual drowsiness, refusal to eat, crying a lot, holding the ears or stomach, and wheezing.

    Signs of trouble for all people can include

    • a cough that disrupts sleep
    • a fever that won't respond to treatment
    • increased shortness of breath
    • face pain caused by a sinus infection
    • high fever, chest pain, or a difference in the mucus you're producing, after feeling better for a short time.

    This article appears on FDA's Consumer Updates page, which features the latest on all FDA-regulated products.

    Sinus and Nasal Decongestant Tablets, Cold Plus no PSE & Tablets comparable to Tylenol Cold and Cough available in boxes and trays. Also read our Flu Blog

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