The measures for prevention and self-care that have been implemented with Covid have led to a greater awareness of how to avoid the spread of other illnesses.
The viruses or bacteria that cause so-called Acute Respiratory Infections (ARIs) travel through airborne droplets after sneezing or coughing. So, as with Covid, it is possible to become infected by touching your eyes or nose after having contact with people or surfaces with these germs. But, how can you protect yourself?
The flu or colds can occur throughout the year because they are spread easily. In addition, you can catch several flus or colds in the same year, which shows the importance of boosting our habits of care, which until recently had been forgotten.
So, with or without a pandemic, consider the following recommendations from the Medline Plus website to prevent the common cold or flu:
- Constant handwashing: Both children and adults should wash their hands after blowing their nose, changing diapers, or going to the bathroom, and before eating and preparing food.
- Disinfect the area: Clean surfaces that are touched frequently, such as faucets, doorknobs, and tables.
- Personal hygiene: Use hand sanitizer to stop the spread of germs and use paper towels instead of sharing cloth towels.
- Social distancing: This measure does not only apply to protecting yourself from Covid. Avoid direct contact with people who have the flu or a cough.
- Correct use of masks: Masks should always cover the nose and mouth. Use a mask especially in case of sudden temperature changes.
- Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of fluids, as this helps the immune system.
Given the current situation, the Colombian Ministry of Health and Social Protection reminds us that it is important to recognize the symptoms of a common cold or flu because this allows us to take action. So, if you have a stuffy or runny nose, watery eyes, chills, sneezing, feeling tired, coughing, and a general feeling of malaise, you may have one of these infections.
While the symptoms are often confused, Covid is usually associated with a dry cough, fever greater than or equal to 38 degrees Celsius, a choking sensation, and the loss of smell and taste.
Most colds and flus go away after a week. If after seven days your symptoms do not improve or they worsen, visit your doctor to rule out a sinus infection, allergies, or other health problems.
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