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  • Josef Murad, M.D

Holiday Health Hints

Updated: Sep 3

Oh, the weather outside is frightful, but the fire is so delightful; and since we’ve no place to go, how about we talk about a few different ways you can fight off colds to enjoy the holiday season to its fullest? Being sick is never pleasant, but being sick during times of celebration is arguably even worse! One of the reasons people get sick more often during the cold months of the year is that they tend to stay indoors and thus are in contact with each other more, which makes it easier for disease to spread. Now obviously, this doesn’t mean you should lock yourself in your room and interact with the rest of your family members only through video calls until spring, but instead we will list several ways you can prevent common winter illnesses on your own.

We’ll start off with the aptly named “common cold”, which is a common viral infection, characterized by:

  • a running nose 

  • irritated “scratchy” throat 

  • low-grade fever with intermittent chills and 

  • joint pain. 

Most colds get worse over the course of 3 days and then improve within a week or so after that. Unfortunately there is no actual cure for the common cold, so the best thing to do is to: maintain good personal hygiene (washing hands even use hand sanitizer frequently), rest and drink much. A sore throat can be alleviated by gargling warm salty water (the NHS recommends dissolving a teaspoon of salt in a glass of part-cooled boiled water). Consider not going to work, since you are likely to be contagious around a week after your symptoms have started.  Another annually recurring viral infection is the flu, which is more severe than the common cold, since it brings with it:

  • a higher fever

  • exhaustion 

  • coughing 

  • sneezing and 

  • more palpable joint pain. 

As in the previous case, the best remedy is rest, fluid intake and symptomatic medicational treatment and only in rare and severe cases antiviral medications are recommended, but those are only useful if the treatment is provided within the first 48 hours from onset of symptoms. Another way to avoid getting the flu all together is to get vaccinated, and in some countries patients who are considered to be at risk (for instance pregnant or elderly) are given the “flu shot” for free. Usually the symptoms last up to five days and after that, the tiredness and cough might be the only thing bothering you for another couple weeks or more.  Lastly, something that merely annoys many people is dry skin, which is caused by the low humidity in the surrounding environment during the winter. For this reason moisturizing cream and lip balm should be essential items in your arsenal. They cover the skin and thus prevent its natural moisture from evaporating. Also it’s good to avoid taking too hot showers, since water at that temperature dries out skin and makes it more itchy, by removing its natural protective layer of lipids. If you experience any symptoms, don’t hesitate to health yourself with BYON8 to see what illness might be causing your malaise and learn more about what you can do yourself to stay healthy! Wishing all my readers a healthy new decennium and hoping you will stay tuned for more content lying ahead. Don´t forget to ↓


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