Cold & Flu

Keeping Winter Bugs at Bay

Dreading cold and flu season? There are some simple ways to ward off bugs or, worst case, speed up recovery. Do you know how? Take our quiz to find out.

Did you know?
There are over 200 cold viruses, but only 3 flu viruses.

1. Spending time outdoors in cold weather increases your chances of getting sick.

a) True

b) False

2. Exercise helps to:

a) Prevent colds and flu

b) Speed up recovery

c) Do both

3. A cold can turn into the flu.

a) True

b) False

4. How long do you need to scrub your hands with soap and water to prevent spread of bugs?

a) 5 seconds

b) 10 seconds

c) 15 seconds

d) 20 seconds

e) It doesn’t matter

5. Elderberry syrup or extract can help:

a) Prevent colds and flu

b) Shorten their duration

c) Do both

6. To bolster natural defenses with garlic, it’s best to eat it:

a) Raw

b) Cooked

c) Either way

7. Vitamin C can help prevent and treat colds.

a) True

b) False

8. To treat a cold, zinc should be taken in the form of:

a) Syrup

b) Lozenges

c) Any zinc supplement

d) Either a or b

Quiz Answers

1. b) Getting chilled, or overheated, doesn’t cause colds or flu, both of which are more common in cold weather because we spend more time indoors in dry environments, where the bugs thrive.

2. a) Moderate exercise enhances the immune system and helps to prevent colds and flu, but intense exercise can reduce natural defenses. It’s okay to exercise with a cold if you feel up to it, but if you have a fever, your body is fighting the illness and it’s best to take it easy.

3. b) Colds do not turn into the flu, as they stem from different viruses. The two maladies can be confused because they can have similar symptoms, but the flu is more intense, with possible fever, general achiness, and a feeling of exhaustion, and can lead to more serious conditions such as pneumonia.

4. d) The CDC recommends scrubbing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, about the time it takes to hum “Happy Birthday” twice. Hand sanitizers are helpful in stopping the spread of bugs but won’t get rid of all types.

5. c) Elderberry enhances our natural defenses and can be taken daily to prevent colds and flu, as well as to reduce symptoms once they appear. Studies show that it significantly speeds recovery.

6. a) For maximum health benefits, crush or chop the garlic and eat it within an hour, as beneficial compounds will evaporate. To avoid garlic breath, also eat some parsley or citrus, or just take garlic supplements.

7. a) Although there have been some conflicting studies, there is evidence that vitamin C can ward off colds and shorten their duration. Stress and illness deplete levels of the vitamin, so individual needs vary over time, and this may have contributed to confusion about its efficacy. High doses have effectively treated colds without any side effects.

8. d) A review of 15 previous studies found that both zinc lozenges and syrups reduced the duration of colds. It’s best to start taking zinc at the onset of symptoms.