I hate colds

Cold and flu season is back with a vengeance, but the University Health Clinic has some tips for prevention.

One of the key factors is people heading back to school and being in large groups–an environment where we constantly come into contact with viruses. One of the key misconceptions is cold and flu are one and the same and the body’s natural healing process will cure both.

"They’re quite different," informed Dr. L.A. Milne, senior physician and administrative coordinator of the University Health Clinic. "They’re both caused by viruses, but when we speak about flu we’re referring to influenza, so a slightly more serious disease."

In populations of people at high risk, influenza can cause a very serious respiratory illness.

"At the moment, a lot of people are getting colds and we refer to cold and flu season almost correspondingly because it seems to start in the fall. Flu season starts a little bit later," stated Dr. Milne.

Ordinarily, cold symptoms vary from those of the flu, and the best thing to do in either case is consult a physician immediately.

"Typically people with a cold present with a minor throat irritation, very often followed by nasal congestion. They may have mild headaches and may go on to develop a cough," said Dr. Milne. "With influenza, people very typically develop a fever, body aches, often a more severe headache and tend to get chest symptoms, which can lead to a productive cough, difficulties breathing and fatigue."

To avoid either, students can follow Dr. Milne’s recommendations.

"Engage in a healthy lifestyle, make sure your getting enough rest, eating a healthy diet, make sure you’re managing your stress and do that through regular exercise and not taking on too many things at once," she said.

As the prime fighter against influenza, Dr.Milne encourages everyone to get the yearly vaccination, which is one shot aimed at three different viruses that may cause the disease.

The University Health Clinic (MSC 370) is open Monday through Friday 9:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m. with walk-in service from 12:00-4:30 p.m.

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