Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Tips for a Healthy (and Hopefully Flu-Free) Season from Dr. Julia Bowlin

Provided by Dr. Julia Bowlin a physician at Family Health in Greenville, Oh.

Happy Holidays!!!! Yes, it is that time of year when family and friends gather around for holiday cheer and gift giving. Many of us spend the time searching for the perfect gift in hope the receiver will be joyful and we can witness or be a part in their joy. However, with all the sharing and loving going on during the holidays we as a population will no doubt be sharing a few “unwanted” gifts. That gift being the spread of many viral infectious diseases such as cold and viruses. The gift of viral infections can be one your family and friends never forget which isn't what you want to be remembered for.

But alas….there is hope this holiday season and with some awareness and precautions you can minimize your chances of getting these viruses by avoiding sick people and participating in frequent hand washing, not touching your face with your hands, and always cover your mouth in your inner elbow when coughing and sneezing.

However, if you do get the flu – please don’t re-gift it!!! Stay home, sleep, and drink plenty of liquids. Please know there is NO CURE for colds and viruses – they must run their course. You may take over the counter medications (if approved by your provider) for your symptoms such as Tylenol and Robitussin DM. If you are seen in the office during the first 24-48 hours of the onset of symptoms your provider may suggest an antiviral therapy which MIGHT reduce the severity and length of illness by 1-2 days– but remember this is NOT a cure. The average person will get better in 1- 2 weeks and you can expect to have yellow-green sputum around day five (this does not mean antibiotics are necessary). The most common cold, viral infection, or flu symptoms are nasal congestion, body aches, fever and a cough. Always call your doctor if you have trouble breathing, chest pain, confusion, or severe vomiting.

The best step toward staying healthy is by getting the flu vaccine and living a healthy lifestyle involving exercise and eating a diet high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. It has been proven that people who have had the flu vaccine have a lower chance of illness and death compared to non-vaccinated individuals. The elderly, infants and people who are chronically ill should highly consider the flu vaccine. The vaccine usually protects people from getting the flu by about 50-80% and IF you DO get the flu it is usually less severe and takes less time to recover. It is important to know that because the flu vaccine mutates (changes) every year it is necessary that you get re-vaccinated on a yearly basis.

For prevention get your flu shot and avoid sick people and if you are sick please stay home and take care of yourself!!!! Have a wonderful holiday and a blessed 2015!!!!

Dr. Julia Bowlin a physician at Family Health in Greenville and is the founder of PAWAR TM (Personal Awareness Medicine). For more information on PAWAR TM --- visit

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