Tips to Help Prevent Colds and Flu

Prevent Colds and Flu:

Yes, you can prevent colds and flu most of the time.

cold and flu prevention homewood family medicine gilbert and mesa, arizonaSurveys show that Americans suffer a billion colds each year. Yes, you read that right. One BILLION, with a B. When you add in the flu, the number is even higher. But there are things you can do to prevent colds and flue and becoming one of those miserable statistics.

Exercise: It’s a Proven Immune Booster

Moderate exercise, such as brisk walking, for 45 minutes a day, five days a week can reduce risk of a cold by a third. The best results are long-term. In one study, women who walked for 12 months had the most resistance to colds in the final quarter of the year.

Eat and Sleep for Health

Mom was right when she told you to eat right and get plenty of rest. That, along with exercise and stress reduction, keeps your immune system healthy and better able to withstand infection. Eat plenty of vegetables and fruits that offer antioxidants. Try to get eight or seven hours of sleep a night.

Wash Your Hands Often

Use warm water and a good helping of soap. Plain soap is fine, because it’s the act of rubbing the hands together for at least 20 seconds that is going to eliminate germs. Don’t forget to clean under the nails, between the fingers, and wash your wrists as well. In public bathrooms, use a paper towel to turn off the facet, another one to dry your hands, and throw them away.

Watch Your Fingers

Without thinking, we rub our eyes, cover our mouths, or rub our noses with our hands. That is a sure way to infect yourself with cold virus particles. Keep your fingers away from your nose and your eyes to avoid infecting yourself with cold virus particles.

Teach Prevention Hygiene to Your Kids

Children share cold viruses easily — and bring them into your home. Teach your child to cough or sneeze into a tissue. And instill a life-long habit that is the key to illness prevention: handwashing.

Get the Flu Vaccine

Vaccines are the surest way to prevent the flu. The best time to get a flu vaccine is from October through November, although you can get the vaccine even later during flu season. Get the flu vaccine every year. Flu viruses are constantly changing, and new vaccines are developed each year to protect against new strains.

Clean for Virus Prevention

Use disinfectant when you clean at home, especially in the bathroom and kitchen. Stay away from sponges and rags — studies show they’re the number one source of germs in the whole house. If you must use sponges, change them once a week or soak them in bleach for 15 minutes.

Practice Cold and Flu Prevention at Work

Hold office meetings in large rooms with plenty of ventilation, and don’t be afraid to practice “social distancing.” Keep some extra space between you and people who are sick, or who sneeze or cough openly. If you share a workstation with others, clean it with antibacterial wipes before you sit down.

Do You Have a Cold or Flu?

Do you feel under the weather and wonder if you’re sick with the flu or a cold?

It’s often hard to tell the difference because the symptoms of both are similar. But there is one clue about flu that can help you know. When you have it, you feel the symptoms sooner than you would with a cold, and they come on with much greater intensity.

What Are the Symptoms of the Flu?

You may feel very weak and tired for up to 2 or 3 weeks. You’ll have muscle aches and periods of chills and sweats as fever comes and goes. You may also have a stuffy or runny nose, headache, and sore throat.

Can I Compare Flu and Cold Symptoms?

This chart can help you see the differences and similarities. Then, if you getflu symptoms, call your doctor and ask about an antiviral drug.




Fever Rare Characteristic, high
(100-102 degrees F); lasts 3 to 4 days

Headache Rare Prominent

General Aches, Pains Slight Usual; often severe

Fatigue, Weakness Quite mild Can last up to 2 to 3 weeks

Extreme Exhaustion Rare Early and prominent

Stuffy, Runny Nose Common Sometimes

Sneezing Usual Sometimes

Sore Throat Common Sometimes

Chest Discomfort,
Mild to moderate;
hacking cough
Common; can become severe


Sinus congestion
or earache
Bronchitis, pneumonia;
can be life-threatening


Good hygiene Good hygiene and an annual flu vaccine


relief of symptoms
Antiviral drugs oseltamivir (Tamiflu),
zanamivir (Relenza), or peramivir (Rapivab)
within 24-48 hours of onset


If you have questions about the Flu vaccine, looking for the flue vaccine or are experiencing cold or flu symptoms the dedicated team at Homewood Family Medicine is here to help! To Schedule An Appointment Call: 480-558-4700

One thought on “Tips to Help Prevent Colds and Flu

  1. Thank you for your comment. We do have a specific section on our website for children’s vaccine schedules. Please see this information under the Services Tab and Pediatric Care. I think it will help answer your questions.

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