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Body Watch | TIDBITS

You Can Stave Off Flu and Colds

November 20, 1996|SUSAN FIGIULO | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

This year's cold-and-flu season has gotten off to a sweeping start, with families all over the country coughing, sniffing, sneezing and generally miserable.

"Unfortunately, I don't know of any wonder drug that improves immunity," says Chicago pediatrician Dr. Bonni Typlin. To prevent one infection after another, "you need extra, extra good hygiene," Typlin says. "Kids can learn to wash their hands at a very young age. . . . They also need to learn to cover their mouths when they cough." Once a cold sets in, "you just have to resign yourself to seven to 10 days with it," she says.

"And there's nothing new in treatment. Some extra bed rest and moisture in the air--that's about it.

"I like to see people use a humidifier, so everyone can breathe better, not just the one with a cold."

More serious than a cold is flu, which can lead to pneumonia. "When children have body aches and a fever, and they're not really getting any better after two or three days," she suggests taking them to the doctor.

Keeping bugs at bay is easier for a body that's well nourished and well rested. "Regular exercise and a balanced diet--and, for children who don't eat a balanced diet, a supplemental multivitamin--are always important in resisting infection."

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