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December/January = Cold & Flu Season Abounds!

Yes, the cold and flu season is back. The flu ( INFLUENZA ) differs from the common cold in the rapidity of its onset and the severity of its symptoms, including fatigue, headache, fever and chills, nausea or lack of appetite, and muscle aches. It also differs in that certain strains of the flu can be very serious.

The two main types of flu are Type A and B.  Anyone can get the flu, but it is more serious in the elderly, in people with chronic underlying illnesses (such as emphysema or diabetes) or those with weak immune systems.  Influenza is highly contagious and is easily transmitted through contact with droplets from the nose and throat of an infected person during coughing, sneezing and even talking.

The incubation period for influenza is one to five days. You may be sick 7 to 10 days. You may be exhausted for days afterwards. If you have symptoms, see your family physician or contact the student health center. For uncomplicated flu, the doctor will probably tell you to stay in bed at home as long as the sickness is severe, and perhaps for about two days after the fever is gone.

Common medications such as acetaminophen, are used to treat fever and aches and pain.Antibiotics are not effective against influenza. They are reserved for when secondary bacterial infection is confirmed or suspected. Drinking adequate amounts of fluid is very important. Routine immunization against influenza is the most important control measure.Influenza vaccines may be available at the student health center, your family physician ,or local health department. REMEMBER to get adequate sleep, exercise, and eat a well-balanced diet.

For more information contact the CDC ( Center for Disease Control ) http://www.cdc.gov/flu/

The winter blues are caused by decreased exposure to sunlight and can affect your mood and your mental awareness.  Get outside whenever you can to reduce the affect of the blues on your emotions and your intellect.

February = American Heart Month

There are many types of heart and blood vessel diseases.  Over 60 million Americans have one or more of them.  Heart and blood vessel problems develop over time, when arteries that supply the heart or brain with blood slowly become clogged from buildup of cells, fat, and cholesterol.  When the blood flow gets blocked you can have a heart attack or stroke.

Many types of heart disease may be prevented. The keys to preventing heart disease include:

  • Stop smoking
  • Lower your blood pressure
  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Be physically active
  • Get regular medical checkups

To learn more, talk with your doctor, nurse or health care professional. You may also contact the American Heart Association at www.americanheart.org or call 1-800-242-8721.

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