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Cold and Flu Prevention

Colds and the flu are common illnesses for many families. Both are respiratory infections, but they are caused by different viruses. Because the two have similar symptoms, it can be difficult to tell them apart. Colds are generally milder than the flu, last a few days and rarely result in serious complications. Symptoms include a runny or stuffy nose, sneezing, and a sore throat. The flu is different from a cold in that its symptoms are more severe, it comes on suddenly and can be life threatening for specific populations. The flu can progress into other health problems such as pneumonia, bronchitis, sinus infections, or ear infections, and can also involve hospitalization. Symptoms include fever, chills, vomiting, a runny or stuffy nose, cough, sore throat, body aches, headaches, and extreme tiredness.

Help prevent colds and the flu by following these tips:

  • Avoid close contact with sick people.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
  • Clean your hands often with soap and water.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends a yearly flu vaccine as the first and most important step to protect against the flu.

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