Every year, between 5 and 20 percent of Americans get the flu and one billion come down with a cold, resulting in more than 100 million workdays and approximately 54 million school days missed! But you don’t have to fall victim to the sniffling and sneezing this year. Learn how to fight the flu, beat the common cold and stay healthy during the winter months with The Doctors’ Cold and Flu Survival Guide.
• Forty Ways to Fight the Flu
• Everything You Need to Know about the Flu
• Top Reasons People Call in Sick
Dr. Anne Schuchat, assistant surgeon general and director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, joins The Doctors to share the latest on the cold and flu season, including new recommendations for pregnant women.
“More and more women are getting vaccinated [for the flu] during pregnancy,” Dr. Schuchat says. “We have a very good safety record for the vaccine. This year we think almost 50 percent of pregnant women have been vaccinated, and it’s not too late, if you’re pregnant, to get vaccinated against the flu. We saw how serious influenza can be in pregnancy, especially during the pandemic, and we really want to prevent those complications.
“Women should know: It doesn’t just protect you, but it protects your baby for several months after birth,” Dr. Schuchat adds. “So I strongly recommend every woman who’s pregnant to get the flu vaccine.”
Ask Our Doctors: Cold and Flu
The Doctors take audience questions about the cold and flu season.
How do you ease a raw nose?
“From blowing your nose constantly, to sniffling and rubbing it with your hand, you are going to get [a raw nose],” plastic surgeon Dr. Drew Ordon says. “I have a nice, little solution: Use your lip balm. If it works on your lips, it’s going to work other places, too.”
Lip balm is used to treat dry, cracked lips, and can do the same for a raw, red nose. The softening agents may help form a barrier on the skin around your nose, so that it can begin to heal. Just make sure the balm isn’t mentholated, because it will cause your nose to burn. Use a balm that has natural ingredients with no preservatives or scents.
What’s the best way to get rid of a stuffy nose?
If your nose is stuffed up, The Doctors recommend using a Neti pot for nasal irrigation. The Neti pot uses a warm saline solution to thin out the mucus in the nose.
See the Neti pot in action, learn the dos and don’ts of nasal irrigation and see other surprising ways to clear your sinuses.
• Actor Jason Lee, star of the hit TV show My Name is Earl, asks The Doctors if taking vitamin C while sick can really keep you healthy. Find out its effects, and other immunity boosters you should be using.
What is your mucus telling you? The Doctors explain what the thickness of your mucus means for your health.
• Is it healthy to swallow your phlegm?
• The Doctors spin the mucus color wheel to reveal what the color of your nasal fluid indicates about the state of your health.
Medicine Cabinet Must-Haves
The Doctors reveal the three items you should keep in your medicine cabinet to stay healthy this cold and flu season.
1. Zinc: Contains natural antiviral properties, and can prevent the viruses from producing certain proteins that they need to reproduce.
2. Ginseng: A natural substance that boosts the immune system and can reduce the severity and duration of cold and flu symptoms.
3. Camphor Oil: Placing a small amount of camphor oil beneath your nose can open up your sinuses.
• See more products you should have around your home during cold and flu season.