How Much Do You Really Know About Cold and Flu Season?

Friday, December 1, 2023

The chill of winter is in the air, and that means the cold and flu season can’t be far behind.

You may think you're savvy about avoiding seasonal illnesses, but how much do you really know about health intruders like colds and flu? Let's separate the myths from the facts so you can keep the sniffles at bay this winter.

Read on to learn about eight important keys to staying healthy throughout the cold and flu season.

1.     Cold vs. Flu: What’s the Difference?

They both make us feel lousy, but there are some important distinctions between the common cold and the flu.


  • Gradual onset of symptoms
  • Sneezing, runny or stuffy nose, and a scratchy throat
  • Coughing and mild fatigue

The Flu:

  • Comes in rapidly with severe symptoms
  • High fever, severe body aches, and extreme fatigue
  • Dry cough and chest discomfort

2.     Germ Transmission is Sneaky

Germs are tough cookies. They can survive on surfaces for hours, waiting for just the right moment to strike. Sneezing is also a major illness transmitter, capable of spreading germs up to 200 feet! And then there are handshakes, which are essentially virus exchanges. Crowded spaces are a favorite germ breeding ground, so be wary of that packed elevator or subway car.

3.     Indoor Heating Is a Surprising Culprit

Did you know your cozy indoor heating system might be contributing to colds and flu?

Heating systems dry out the air, creating a perfect breeding ground for viruses. Dry air also weakens the body’s natural defenses, making creating a susceptible host for infection. Combat the indoor germ haven by using a humidifier and staying well-hydrated.

4.     Keep Your Germs to Yourself

It’s the season of giving and germs are no exception. Steer clear of using others’ personal items such as brushes, combs, and writing instruments. Avoid sharing eating utensils and food items, too. 

5.     The Germ-Laden Office Environment

If you work onsite or in a hybrid situation, your workplace is probably a breeding ground for viruses and germs. Research shows that the average office desk harbors more bacteria than the bathroom, so take steps to clean and sanitize your space regularly. Think doorknobs, light switches, computer keyboards, and more—anything that is frequently touched.

6.     Wash Up the Right Way

Washing your hands may seem like a basic tip, but did you know there are specific techniques to follow to get the most benefit? Proper handwashing should last at least 20 seconds using hot water and soap. The friction from rubbing your hands together during washing is what helps dislodge and remove germs, so scrub away. And be sure to get the spaces between fingers and under the nails.

7.     Feed a Cold, Starve a Fever?

Your grandma may have told you to “feed a cold and starve a fever", but that age-old saying doesn’t bear much truth. In actuality, proper nutrition is crucial for both situations. The body needs fuel to fight off infections, so eat wisely and drink plenty of fluids.

8.     Get Your Zs

Sleep isn't just for the elderly and infirm; it’s a superhero in the battle against colds and flu. A lack of sleep weakens the immune system, making you more susceptible to illness. Aim for 7-9 hours of good quality sleep each night to keep your immune system in tip-top shape.

Staying healthy during cold and flu season gets easier when you have the right information. If you need additional resources about how to avoid winter illnesses, we are here to help. Please reach out to our caring professionals anytime.

About Vaughn Greene Funeral Services: For more than 25 years, Vaughn Greene Funeral Services has been providing a ministry of care to Baltimore’s African-American community. As a leading local, minority- and family-owned provider, we promise to provide our highest level of service and respect to families who entrust us to honor their loved ones. For more information about our funeral, cremation, memorial, repast, and grief counseling services, please call us at 410.655.0015 or visit us online at

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