Health Brief: Arm Yourself This Cold and Flu Season

SCOTTSDALE, AZ -“ (November 18, 2011) Despite great strides in modern medicine, there are still no known cures for the common cold or the flu. To help keep you and your family healthy this cold and flu season, here are some tips from Dr. John Shufeldt, the founder of online healthcare resource MeMD. PREVENTION #1 Wash Your Hands - Most cold and flu viruses are spread by direct contact and something as simple as sneezing into your hand and then touching your phone, a doorknob or keyboard. These germs can live for hours, in some cases weeks, only to be picked up by the next person who touches the same object. Washing your hands often or at the minimum using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer will help knock out the majority of cold germs. #2 Drink Water and Snack Healthy - Drinking water throughout the day is important, not only does it help flush your system by removing poisons from the body, it also keeps you well hydrated. In a holiday season full of parties, celebration and festive drinks, staying well hydrated is crucial; the alcohol in some of our favorite holiday drinks suppress the immune system and dehydrate the body, making you more prone to initial infections and secondary complications. Also, snack healthy! Studies show that eating a daily cup of low- fat yogurt can reduce your susceptibility to colds by 25%. Eating dark green, red and yellow veggies, all considered high in phytochemicals, can give your immune system a supercharged boost. #3 Avoid the Smoke - Statistics show that smokers catch more severe and more frequent colds. Even exposure to smoke profoundly zaps the immune system, drying out your nasal passages and paralyzing cilia (delicate hairs that line the mucous membranes in your nose and lungs whose movement sweeps cold and flu viruses out of the nasal passages). One cigarette can paralyze cilia for as long as 30 to 40 minutes. #4 Keep Your Paws Off Your Face - Cold and flu viruses can enter your body through the eyes, nose or mouth. Touching the face is the major way adults and children alike catch and pass on colds to those around them. #5 "Take 5" - Treat yourself to a time out! Giving yourself just a few minutes of relaxation can activate interleukins in your immune system, leaders in the immune system response against pesky cold and flu viruses. TREATMENT For those millions of Americans seeking relief from this year's most common cold and flu symptoms, Dr. Shufeldt shares a few treatment options to keep on-hand: #1 Get Some ZZZs - Recharge. Hit the sack early, and give yourself a minimum of 7 hours of uninterrupted nighttime sleep. #2 Hydrate -“ Drink at least 64 ounces of water a day, as soon as you start to feel mild cold-like symptoms. Water can be an effective way to flush infection from your body. #3 Catch It If You Can - The Center for Disease Control (CDC) suggests antiviral drug options like Tamiflu, which can potentially treat and prevent flu in people over the age of 1. It is important to note that antiviral drugs work most effectively when taken within a small 48-hour window of onset of flu symptoms. #4 Peer "Over the Counter" - Although there is no perfect cold medicine, over the counter medicines can shorten or reduce your symptoms and potentially provide some relief. A decongestant can help nasal or sinus congestion, but can also increase heart rate. An antihistamine can be helpful for runny nose and sneezing, but can potentially make you drowsy. #5 Seek Treatment -“ The symptoms of cold and flu are anything but enjoyable and can go from bad to worse very quickly. To avoid having to take time off work or risk getting your family sick too, don't torture yourself by letting lingering coughs, chills, sneezing, runny nose, sore throat or fever continue. For those with health insurance and under the care of a Primary Care Physician (PCP), patients should make an appointment as quickly as possible. If their PCP is not accessible within 24 hours, or for those without health insurance, patients should visit an Urgent Care or utilize a new web-based healthcare solution called MeMD. Through secure video consultations, MeMD offers an online national network of urgent care physicians that can diagnose and treat patients 24/7/365 from the convenience of any location with web access. MeMD is fast, convenient, effective and affordable. To learn more about MeMD, set up an account or see a doctor online now, visit http://www.MeMD.me. ### ABOUT MEMD® Headquartered in Scottsdale, Arizona, MeMD is revolutionizing the health care industry by offering every American access to affordable, convenient, on-demand and secure web-based health care. MeMD combines proven telemedicine technologies with business model innovations to improve access to medical providers, reduce health care costs, and make the experience of seeing a physician convenient, enjoyable, and affordable - the way it should be.