It’s a sick crime that our longest season (November to April) is cold and flu season – and those days are upon us. You may have escaped nasty bugs so far this year, but you’re still probably surrounded by snifflers and coughers who could make you ill. Take this quiz, brush up on your cold and flu knowledge and avoid being in hacking, aching, stuffed-up misery this winter.
1. Which of the following situations is most likely to make you sick?
A) You’re on the bus in the dead of winter and the person sitting next to you sneezes
B) You’ve been staying up late to get things done around the house and realize you’re showing up at work exhausted each morning
C) Out for a round of power-shopping at lunch, you touch the escalator handrail in your local department store
While sitting beside sneezers and touching germy surfaces does increase your likelihood of getting sick, hand-washing can help. “It’s one of the best preventive measures there are,” says Judy MacDonald, the deputy medical officer for the Calgary Health Region. Skimping on sleep, on the other hand, deals a huge blow to your immune system, which will compromise your health no matter the season. During this infectious time of year, you should pay close attention to your sleep schedule to ensure you’re getting eight hours every night”
2. Which of the following should you always have on hand during cold and flu season?
A) Vitamin C tablets
B) Immunity-boosting capsules like COLDfX
C) Hand sanitizer
Vitamin C and immunity-boosting capsules might be part of your personal germ-fighting routine, but the best way to prevent illness is by keeping your hands clean and away from your face. Hand sanitizer is a must-have during cold and flu season. Carry a purse-sized bottle with you wherever you go and use it often.
3. Which of these foods is especially full of immunity-boosting properties?
C) Alfalfa sprouts
Oysters are probably the last thing you’ll want on your plate if you become ill, but they may also prevent you from becoming so. Oysters are high in zinc, which helps to form white blood cells that will ward off invading viruses, according to Toronto, Ont.-based registered dietitian Maria Recupero.
4. Which of these sets of symptoms would indicate that you most likely have the flu?
A) Dry cough, aches and pains
B) Sore throat and runny nose
C) Fatigue and phlegmy cough
Dry cough, aches and pains along with fatigue and high fever are the most likely signs of the flu. Rest, drink plenty of fluids and try to steer clear of others so you don’t spread the virus. See your doctor if you have these symptoms for more than two weeks.
5. Which of the following is true?
A) You should feed a cold and starve a fever
B) The flu is a really bad cold
C) You can catch a cold by going outside without a coat on
You can catch a cold by going outside without a coat on, well, sort of. Although it’s not the same thing as being exposed to a virus, which is what ultimately will make you sick, being physically cold may seriously impair your immune system’s ability to fight off viruses, says Calgary-based medical officer Judy MacDonald.
6. Should you get the flu shot if you’re pregnant?
C) Only if you’re in your first trimester
If you’re pregnant, you should still get vaccinated. “No matter what trimester you’re in, the flu shot will protect you and offer a measure of protection to your newborn,” says Judy MacDonald, deputy medical officer for the Calgary Health Region.