Spread cheer – not the cold and flu
(NC) The holidays are a time when family and friends get together, but unfortunately it's also a time when cold and flu germs can be shared as readily as gifts. For some Canadians with breathing and lung conditions, leaving a party with the sniffles could end up in a visit to the hospital.
More than 770,000 Canadians have been diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis. COPD causes symptoms like shortness of breath, coughing, wheezing and coughing up phlegm. When symptoms get worse or a new, persistent symptom comes on, it could be the beginning of a lung attack, which can lead to hospitalization, restricted mobility and can increase the risk of death. In fact, COPD lung attacks requiring hospitalization peak every year during the winter holidays.
To ensure your holiday season is made up of family time and not hospital time, here are some simple steps to follow:
Keep your hands clean: Germs are commonly spread through handshakes. Wash your hands regularly with soap and water, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if necessary.
Keep your immune system strong: Stay in shape, eat well and get lots of sleep to help combat the cold and flu bug.
Know the signs of a lung attack: Watch for signs like increased coughing, wheezing or unusual changes in phlegm. See your physician if you notice worsening symptoms and also ask if your medication dosages need an adjustment.
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