Originally created 10/31/06

The Essentials



Want some tips on how to study for a test? Need advice on how to balance a checkbook?

Each week, the essentials offers practical advice for teens on some aspect of life.

Preventing a cold/flu

Cooler air, warmer clothes, icky viruses and catchy bugs - it's cold and flu season again. I went to Dr. Edwin H. Scott, of The Center For Primary Care South, to get some tips on how to avoid the flu/cold.

Dr. Scott was named among the Best Doctors in America by Best Doctor's Inc., so you might want to pay attention.

- Get your flu shot. If you are not a big fan of needles, then get the nose spray. Talk with your doctor to see whether you need the shot.

- Wash your hands. This is the most effective way to avoid getting a cold. If you don't have the chance to go to a bathroom, hand sanitizer gels work, too.

- Stay away from someone who has the flu or cold. Their sneezes or coughs contain the virus that you can easily breathe in if you're within a few feet.

- Don't touch anything that the infected person sneezed or coughed on for the same reason as above. If you happen to touch the things that they have touched, try to avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.

Already sick?


If you do have a cold or the flu, there is little you can do to make it go away sooner, but there are ways to make yourself feel better:

- Stay away from people who smoke. Secondhand smoke will make your cold symptoms worse.

- Drink lots of fluids such as juice, water and clear soups. This will help loosen mucus.

- Stay home and rest, especially if you have a fever.

- Take medicines that are targeted at your symptoms and your needs.

- Do not take an aspirin. Aspirin has been linked in teens to a rare and deadly illness called Reye's Syndrome.

- Gargle with warm salt water a few times a day to relieve a sore throat. If you don't want to do that, throat sprays also work.

- Use saline (salt water) nose drops to loosen mucus and moisten the tender skin in your nose.