Daily Piece: Protecting Yourself against the Flu and Cold

Tis the season of cold and flu. Being proactive to protect yourself from cold and flu is of the essence. The most basic step to take is to wash your hands with soap and water throughout the day especially after touching door knobs and handles. Cleaning your hands with alcohol is an alternative to hand washing although hand washing is the best. Getting a sufficient amount of sleep (ideally 6 – 8 hours), eating balanced healthy meals and being physically active are also great prevention steps.

For some protection against getting a cold, taking vitamin C 500 mg daily is fine although not proven protection. If you take more than 500 mg of vitamin C at a time, your body will simply eliminate it so more is not better.

Lastly, the flu vaccine is of particular importance. Now a flu shot is not a guaranteed protection against getting the flu. Rather it lessens the severity and duration of the flu – bottom line it is worth it. FluMist, the nasal version of the flu vaccine, has been approved for this flu season but it is not as effective injected (intramuscular) formulation of the vaccine. A commentary published recently in Pediatrics highlights this finding.


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