By Family Features
Special to Valley News 

Combat cold and flu season


Last updated 1/11/2019 at 12:04am

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If cold or flu viruses strike this winter, it's important to consult a medical professional with any health-related questions.

When temperatures drop, the risk for illness, such as colds and the flu, rises. Each year, millions of Americans suffer from symptoms ranging from coughing, sneezing and congestion to aches, fevers and vomiting that can leave them feeling less than 100 percent.

While they may not be able to avoid illness entirely, they can take steps to protect themselves from the common cold and more serious bugs like the flu.

This cold and flu season, keep essentials on-hand from thermometers to diagnose a fever quickly to humidifiers and heated blankets that can potentially help shorten recovery times.

If cold or flu viruses happen to strike this winter, it's important to consult a medical professional with any health-related questions. Find more tips for fighting illness at

Make easy, accurate temperature readings.

Many parents place speed, accuracy and easy to use at the top of their list when choosing the ideal thermometer. Consider the Vicks RapidRead Digital Thermometer, which consistently delivers a professionally accurate temperature reading in Fahrenheit or Celsius in only two seconds. To help interpret fever, the Precision InSight feature provides site-specific, color-coded guidance, since temperatures register differently between oral, rectal or underarm readings. Find more information at

Get a warm, comfortable night's sleep.

Sleep is essential for letting the body recover, especially when feeling under the weather. A heated blanket or mattress pad can provide natural pain relief and help to relax sore muscles, ease tension, promote blood flow and increase body temperature to help fight fevers that often accompany colds and the flu. Often washer- and dryer-safe, featuring variable temperature settings and available in a variety of sizes to fit nearly any bed, a heated blanket can help people get a good night's sleep and wake up feeling refreshed.

Combat dry winter air.

The cold, dry winter air is an ideal breeding ground for the flu virus; however, using a humidifier can add moisture to the air, help fight cold and flu symptoms and aid in preventing dryness and irritation in many body parts, such as skin, nose, throats and lips. Available with a multitude of tank sizes and features to fit nearly any room in a home, some humidifiers even offer smart functions, rotating mist nozzles, programmable timers and automatic shut-off when they run out of water.

Reduce airborne germs.

As the flu virus can survive for up to 48 hours outside of the body, good personal hygiene can play an important role in preventing the spread of germs. One way to do so is by coughing or sneezing into facial tissues, which can help reduce the amount of germs released back into the air. There are even antibacterial, aloe vera and eucalyptus varieties available, which offer added cold and flu fighting benefits while helping prevent dry skin from the excess nose blowing that often accompanies illnesses.

Warm up with a hydrating beverage.

Hydration is a key part of recovering from nearly any illness, and warm drinks like tea can help relieve a cough or sore throat by simulating salivation and secretions, which can help soothe and lubricate the throat. Having a high-quality tea pot that sends an alert when the hot water is ready can ensure that relief from a warm beverage is never more than a few minutes away.

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Antibacterial, aloe vera and eucalyptus tissues are available to help prevent dry skin from the excess nose blowing that often accompanies illnesses.


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