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The Triple Whammy

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Dr. Dave Hnida (credit: CBS)

Dr. Dave Hnida (credit: CBS)

Recent Blog Entries From Dr. Dave Hnida


Written by Dr. Dave Hnida, CBS4 Medical EditorIt’s not been a good time in Colorado lately. The Centennial State is seemingly more like the Germ State.

Sure, there are bugs that circulate through the area year-round, and winter is always the worst when it comes to close quarters, dryness and being inside with germ carriers.

But this year is a touch different. The annual march of diseases have seemed to show up at once, and packing a solid punch.

Doctors offices and Emergency Departments are seeing a lot of influenza, RSV and Norovirus.

Influenza you know as the “flu.” RSV stands for Respiratory Syncytial Virus, which causes cold like symptoms in adults and older children, but can attack the lungs of infants and young children. And Norovirus is that stomach bug that you always hear about infecting cruise ships (but actually is more common on dry land).

So, imagine having the three at once – oh my. Shaking chills, runny nose and cough, all while being trapped in the bathroom.

Certainly, the odds of hitting the trifecta all at once is rare, but it’s not unheard of to go from one bug, to another, and then another. Your immune system just doesn’t seem to catch up and refresh. Throw in the common cold and other everyday germs, well, this sure can be a long, sick winter.

So, how do you stay healthy? I wish I had the magic answer. But I don’t think it’s products such as Airborne, Vitamin C or whatever. The science just isn’t there, although the placebo effect may be (which isn’t all that bad.)

The scientifically proven things to boost your immunity are boring. But boring is effective.

- Sleep (and naps)

- Mild to moderate exercise, with recovery days in between workouts.

- Low fat diet- that means goodbye snack foods and junk. Fat does slow your immune response.

So think about it. Sleep, proper eating, and a little exercise. You might think I was asking you to watch paint dry — but sorry, these things work.

Also, no smoking, lots of water and some saline nasal spray to lubricate your nasal passageways will help. So will 15-20 seconds of hand washing at least every hour, whether you think you need it or not. And cleaning surfaces that can harbor germs (that typically have a lifespan of 8 hours, and are begging you to touch them.)

It’s not that hard. At least not as hard as having shaking chills and coughing fits while parked in the bathroom. I’d rather be boring.

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