With the kids back in school and cooler weather setting in, we’ll soon be rolling up our sleeves to get those flu shots, and we’ll soon be battling the bugs and bacteria that the kids pick up at school.
The best defense is a strong offense. First, though, you need to know your enemies -- viruses and bacteria -- and how they attack.
While many of us confuse the two, viruses and bacteria are completely different animals.
“Viruses, (like colds or flu), you get by being up close and personal. Somebody’s got to sneeze on you, cough on you, or shake your hand. Bacteria, (like MRSA or staph), can survive on hard surfaces, your cell phone, door knobs…for hours or days at a time, so how you get them is different, and in the end, they are treated differently,” Dr. Jackie said.
These days, at the first sign of a cough, stuffy nose or sniffles, a lot of us reach for antibiotics. That’s practicing bad medicine, according to Dr. Jackie. “Don’t insist to your doctor that you’ve got to have antibiotics if in fact what you have is a virus. That’s how you end up making resistant bugs,” she said.
To fight off bugs before they attack, she says get a flu shot. If you’re over age 50, you can also get a pneumonia shot (a bacterial vaccine).
If you’re already sick, Dr. Jackie recommends lots of water (sans alcohol and caffeine). Drink it and use a sinus rinse. Yogurt will help you fight tummy bugs, especially if you’re taking antibiotics; and finally, says Dr. Jackie, “if you’re sick, don’t go to work. Go to sleep if you want to quickly get back on your feet!”