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Quick Protection Tips

For Cold and Flu Season

Preventing colds and flu from getting the best of you doesn’t have to be complicated. Vicks® has compiled a variety of different tips to help you handle the cold and flu season.

Cold and Flu Prevention

Is It OK to Kiss if You Have a Cold?

Yes! Surprisingly, kissing is not a very easy way to become infected. Kissing studies have shown that only 8% of people kissed by infected partners got colds.

Lorber B. Perspectives: the common cold. Journal of General Internal Medicine. April 1996;11:229-236.

Know if They’re Allergy or Cold Symptoms Right Now

Allergy symptoms almost never cause general aches and pains or fever. On the other hand, cold symptoms rarely include itchy eyes, which are common allergy symptoms.

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Is it a cold or an allergy? Available at: www.niaid.nih.gov/topics/allergicdiseases/documents/coldallergy.pdf.Accessed12 January 2011.

Is It a Cold or the Flu?

Though cold and flu symptoms are similar, tell-tale signs that you could be suffering from the flu are if you have a fever and the symptoms come on suddenly.

Eccles R. Understanding the symptoms of the common cold and influenza. The Lancet Infectious Diseases. 2005 Nov;5(11):718-725.

Treat Allergies to Help Reduce Daytime Sleepiness

In 2006, a French study1 showed that seasonal allergies (basically your typical allergy symptoms) greatly disrupted sleep patterns and sleep quality, even if the patients didn’t wake up.

1Leger D et al. Allergic rhinitis and its consequences on quality of sleep. Archives of Internal Medicine. September 2006;18;166(16):1744-1748.

Add Humidity to Fight Cold and Flu Viruses

Cold and flu viruses thrive in dry, winter air.1 Keeping your indoor humidity levels between 30% and 50%2 is recommended to help slow the spread of these viruses. Plus, it helps maintain a more comfortable environment for you and your family.3 Consider a Vicks® humidifier to help you make it through cold and flu season.

1Mayo Clinic. Common Cold—Cold remedies: what works, what doesn't, what can't hurt. Available at: .http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/cold-remedies/ID00036/ Accessed 21 September 2011.

2Lowen AC, Mubareka S, Steel J, Palese P. Influenza virus transmission is dependent on relative humidity and temperature. PLoS Pathogens. 2007 Oct 19;3(10):1470-6. Available at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17953482.

3Mayo Clinic. Common cold. Available at: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/humidifiers/HQ00076. Accessed 24 January 11.

Know How Often Colds Might Stop In

It is estimated that adults will suffer two to three colds per year,1and children may suffer from two to nine colds annually.2,3

1Turner RB. The common cold. In: Mandell GL, Bennett JE, Dolin R, eds. Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Churchill Livingstone; 2009:Chap 53.

2Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Publication “Rhinitis vs Sinusitis in Children” 2009. Available at:http://www.cdc.gov/getsmart/campaign-materials/info-sheets/child-rhin-vs-sinus.html

3National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health (NIAID). Common Cold. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/getsmart/campaign-materials/info-sheets/child-rhin-vs-sinus.html Accessed 12 January 2012.

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Clean and Healthy

Keep Your Humidifier Clean

During the winter months—the height of cold and flu season—change the water in your humidifier daily.1 Clean your humidifier according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

1Mayo Clinic. Common Cold—Cold remedies: what works, what doesn't, what can't hurt. Available at: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/cold-remedies/ID00036/ Accessed 21 September 2011.

Keep Cleaning the Stuff You’re Using

Get into the habit of cleaning the stuff you share with others, such as computer keyboards, phones, remote controls, countertops, and more, to prevent the spread of cold and flu.1,2

1Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Keep the germs away: tips for staying healthy. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/Features/FightGerms. Accessed March 2011.

2Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Stopping the spread of germs at home, work & school. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/stopgerms.htm. Accessed March 2011.

Follow Hand Washing Basics

Hand-washing is so important that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) made official guidelines on the topic. The CDC advises you to wash with soap and water, while scrubbing vigorously for at least 20 seconds.1

1Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Handwashing: clean hands save lives. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/handwashing. Accessed 13 January 2012.

Know When to Wash Your Hands

To help prevent the spread of cold and flu germs, wash your hands at the following times: after petting an animal, before eating, before and after treating a cut, and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.1

1Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Handwashing: clean hands save lives. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/handwashing. Accessed 13 January 2012.

Trust Good Old Soap

Soap kills bacteria and germs. Feel free to use regular soap with water to wash your hands often. Keeping your hands clean and germ free can help prevent you catching cold.1,2

1Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Handwashing: clean hands save lives. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/handwashing. Accessed 13 January 2012.

2The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Common cold prevention. Available at: http://www.niaid.nih.gov/topics/commoncold/pages/prevention.aspx . Accessed 13 January 2012.

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Staying Healthy

Be Aware That a Flu Vaccine Won’t Protect You from a Cold

Getting a flu vaccination before flu season protects only against the pathogens of influenza. Unfortunately, there is no vaccination for the common cold. The best method of prevention is maintaining a healthy immune system.

Be Aware That a Flu Vaccine Won’t Protect You from a Cold

Getting a flu vaccination before flu season protects only against some pathogens of influenza predicted to be common for that particular flu season.1 Unfortunately, there is no vaccination for the common cold. Washing your hands often with soap and water is one easy way to help prevent catching cold.2

1Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Key facts about seasonal flu vaccine. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/Flu/protect/keyfacts.htm Accessed 5 April 2011.

2The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Common cold prevention. Available at: http://www.niaid.nih.gov/topics/commoncold/pages/prevention.aspx Accessed 13 January 2012.

Take cover from Coughs and Sneezes

Respiratory viruses spread in three ways:1

  • Through small droplets that are aerosolized by coughs or sneezes. These droplets do not settle and can carry germs over relatively long distances through the air that others can inhale.

  • Through large droplets similarly transmitted through the air over relatively short distances and settle rapidly.

  • Through direct contact with contaminated hands or surfaces.

1Turner RB. The common cold. In: Mandell GL, Bennett JE, Dolin R, eds. Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Elsevier Churchill Livingstone; 2009:Chapter 53.

Sleep Off a Cold

Not getting at least seven hours of sound sleep decreases your immune system’s ability to fight off a cold. Try to get a consistent seven to eight hours of good, quality sleep every night.1

1Cohen S, Doyle W, Cuneyt A, et al. Sleep habits and susceptibility to the common cold. Archives of Internal Medicine. 2009:169(1): 62-67.

Don’t Worry About Winter

Cold weather doesn’t give you a cold or flu, viruses do.1 However, spending more time indoors with other people during cold winter months increases the likelihood you will be exposed to cold and flu viruses,2 especially because cold and flu viruses tend to thrive in the dry conditions that are typical in wintertime.3 You may breathe more germ-infested air, which can contribute to why you get sick more often in the winter.

1Turner RB. The common cold. In: Mandell GL, Bennett JE, Dolin R, eds. Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Elsevier Churchill Livingstone; 2009:Chapter 53.

2Finkelman BS, Viboud C, Koelle K, et al. Global patterns in seasonal activity of influenza A/H3N2, A/H1N1, and B from 1997 to 2005: viral coexistence and latitudinal gradients. PLoS One. 2007 Dec 12;2(12):1-10: e1296. Available at:http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=2117904.

3Lowen AC, Mubareka S, Steel J, Palese P. Influenza virus transmission is dependent on relative humidity and temperature. PLoS Pathogens. 2007 Oct 19;3(10):1470-6. Available at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17953482 .

Use Antibiotics Appropriately

Unless you are diagnosed with a bacterial infection, avoid asking a doctor to prescribe antibiotics for cold or flu symptoms. Antibiotics are used to kill bacteria and therefore are ineffective in treating viral infections resulting from cold and flu viruses.1 In fact, the CDC warns that taking antibiotics unnecessarily can lead to dangerous antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria.2

1National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Common cold. Available at:http://www.niaid.nih.gov/topics/commonCold/Pages/treatment.aspx . Accessed 12 January 2012.

2Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Antibiotics aren't always the answer. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/Features/GetSmart/.

Fight Off Germs in an Airplane

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend you only travel when you feel well.1 You can keep germs at bay by washing your hands often with soap and water when available.2 Use a bottle of alcohol-based hand sanitizer when regular soap and water aren’t available or convenient.3

1Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Flu-free, healthy travel this winter. Available at:http://www.cdc.gov/Features/WinterTravel/. Accessed March 2011.

2Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Keep the germs away: tips for staying healthy. http://www.cdc.gov/Features/FightGerms. Accessed March 2011.

3Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Stopping the spread of germs at home, work & school. Available at:http://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/stopgerms.htm . Accessed March 2011.

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Healthy Expectations

Be Patient; We Get Well Gradually

Generally speaking, a cold can last up to seven to ten days with some symptoms, such as a cough, lasting longer.1 On these occasions, use Vicks® over-the-counter cold, cough, and flu medicines to help relieve cold and flu symptoms. However, if you don’t start to feel better after about a week, or your symptoms worsen, seek medical attention.

1Eccles R. Understanding the symptoms of the common cold and influenza. The Lancet Infectious Diseases. 2005 Nov;5(11):718-725.

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