Exercise: 7 benefits of regular physical activity

Want to feel better, have more energy and even add years to your life? Just exercise.

The health benefits of regular exercise and physical activity are hard to ignore. Everyone benefits from exercise, regardless of age, sex or physical ability.

Need more convincing to get moving? Check out these seven ways exercise can lead to a happier, healthier you.

1. Exercise controls weight

Exercise can help prevent excess weight gain or help maintain weight loss. When you engage in physical activity, you burn calories. The more intense the activity, the more calories you burn.

Regular trips to the gym are great, but don’t worry if you can’t find a large chunk of time to exercise every day. To reap the benefits of exercise, just get more active throughout your day — take the stairs instead of the elevator or rev up your household chores. Consistency is key.

2. Exercise combats health conditions and diseases

Worried about heart disease? Hoping to prevent high blood pressure? No matter what your current weight, being active boosts high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or “good,” cholesterol and decreases unhealthy triglycerides. This one-two punch keeps your blood flowing smoothly, which decreases your risk of cardiovascular diseases.

Regular exercise helps prevent or manage a wide range of health problems and concerns, including stroke, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, depression, a number of types of cancer, arthritis and falls.

3. Exercise improves mood

Need an emotional lift? Or need to blow off some steam after a stressful day? A gym session or brisk 30-minute walk can help. Physical activity stimulates various brain chemicals that may leave you feeling happier and more relaxed.

You may also feel better about your appearance and yourself when you exercise regularly, which can boost your confidence and improve your self-esteem.

4. Exercise boosts energy

Winded by grocery shopping or household chores? Regular physical activity can improve your muscle strength and boost your endurance.

Exercise delivers oxygen and nutrients to your tissues and helps your cardiovascular system work more efficiently. And when your heart and lung health improve, you have more energy to tackle daily chores.

5. Exercise promotes better sleep

Struggling to snooze? Regular physical activity can help you fall asleep faster and deepen your sleep. Just don’t exercise too close to bedtime, or you may be too energized to hit the hay.

6. Exercise puts the spark back into your sex life

Do you feel too tired or too out of shape to enjoy physical intimacy? Regular physical activity can improve energy levels and physical appearance, which may boost your sex life.

But there’s even more to it than that. Regular physical activity may enhance arousal for women. And men who exercise regularly are less likely to have problems with erectile dysfunction than are men who don’t exercise.

7. Exercise can be fun … and social!

Exercise and physical activity can be enjoyable. It gives you a chance to unwind, enjoy the outdoors or simply engage in activities that make you happy. Physical activity can also help you connect with family or friends in a fun social setting.

So, take a dance class, hit the hiking trails or join a soccer team. Find a physical activity you enjoy, and just do it. Bored? Try something new, or do something with friends.

The bottom line on exercise

Exercise and physical activity are a great way to feel better, boost your health and have fun. Aim for at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity exercise, or 75 minutes per week of vigorous exercise.

Try to engage in a combination of vigorous and moderate aerobic exercises, such as running, walking or swimming. Squeeze in strength training at least twice per week by lifting free weights, using weight machines or doing body weight exercises.

Space out your activities throughout the week. If you want to lose weight or meet specific fitness goals, you may need to ramp up your exercise efforts.

Remember to check with your doctor before starting a new exercise program, especially if you haven’t exercised for a long time, have chronic health problems, such as heart disease, diabetes or arthritis, or you have any concerns.

Source: mayoclinic.org ~ Image: pixabay.com

5 of the best exercises you can ever do

If you’re not an athlete or serious exerciser — and you just want to work out for your health or to fit in your clothes better — the gym scene can be intimidating. Just having to walk by treadmills, stationary bikes, and weight machines can be enough to make you head straight back home to the couch.

Yet some of the best physical activities for your body don’t require the gym or ask you to get fit enough to run a marathon. These “workouts” can do wonders for your health. They’ll help keep your weight under control, improve your balance and range of motion, strengthen your bones, protect your joints, prevent bladder control problems, and even ward off memory loss.

No matter your age or fitness level, these activities can help you get in shape and lower your risk for disease:

1. Swimming

You might call swimming the perfect workout. The buoyancy of the water supports your body and takes the strain off painful joints so you can move them more fluidly. “Swimming is good for individuals with arthritis because it’s less weight-bearing,” explains Dr. I-Min Lee, professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.

Research has found that swimming can also improve your mental state and put you in a better mood. Water aerobics is another option. These classes help you burn calories and tone up.

2. Tai chi

This Chinese martial art that combines movement and relaxation is good for both body and mind. In fact, it’s been called “meditation in motion.” Tai chi is made up of a series of graceful movements, one transitioning smoothly into the next. Because the classes are offered at various levels, tai chi is accessible — and valuable — for people of all ages and fitness levels. “It’s particularly good for older people because balance is an important component of fitness, and balance is something we lose as we get older,” Dr. Lee says.

Take a class to help you get started and learn the proper form. You can find tai chi programs at your local YMCA, health club, community center, or senior center.

3. Strength training

If you believe that strength training is a macho, brawny activity, think again. Lifting light weights won’t bulk up your muscles, but it will keep them strong. “If you don’t use muscles, they will lose their strength over time,” Dr. Lee says.

Muscle also helps burn calories. “The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn, so it’s easier to maintain your weight,” says Dr. Lee. Similar to other exercise, strength training may also help preserve brain function in later years.

Before starting a weight training program, be sure to learn the proper form. Start light, with just one or two pounds. You should be able to lift the weights 10 times with ease. After a couple of weeks, increase that by a pound or two. If you can easily lift the weights through the entire range of motion more than 12 times, move up to slightly heavier weight.

4. Walking

Walking is simple, yet powerful. It can help you stay trim, improve cholesterol levels, strengthen bones, keep blood pressure in check, lift your mood, and lower your risk for a number of diseases (diabetes and heart disease, for example). A number of studies have shown that walking and other physical activities can even improve memory and resist age-related memory loss.

All you need is a well-fitting and supportive pair of shoes. Start with walking for about 10 to15 minutes at a time. Over time, you can start to walk farther and faster, until you’re walking for 30 to 60 minutes on most days of the week.

5. Kegel exercises

These exercises won’t help you look better, but they do something just as important — strengthen the pelvic floor muscles that support the bladder. Strong pelvic floor muscles can go a long way toward preventing incontinence. While many women are familiar with Kegels, these exercises can benefit men too.

To do a Kegel exercise correctly, squeeze the muscles you would use to prevent yourself from passing urine or gas. Hold the contraction for two or three seconds, then release. Make sure to completely relax your pelvic floor muscles after the contraction. Repeat 10 times. Try to do four to five sets a day.

Many of the things we do for fun (and work) count as exercise. Raking the yard counts as physical activity. So does ballroom dancing and playing with your kids or grandkids. As long as you’re doing some form of aerobic exercise for at least 30 minutes a day, and you include two days of strength training a week, you can consider yourself an “active” person.

Source: health.harvard.edu ~ Image: pixabay.com

Is a Vitamin or Mineral Deficiency Making You Tired?

YOU ALREADY KNOW A LACK of iron can drag you down.

But experts say numerous vitamin and mineral deficiencies can contribute to fatigue. If left unchecked, the same deficiencies that make it hard to keep your head up can lead to long-term health consequences – from brittle bones to impaired brain function.

“Fatigue can be like an early warning sign of potentially more severe problems down the road if you don’t recognize and treat the problem causing the fatigue,” says Dr. Anthony Komaroff, a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and a senior physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. “You need to explore all possible explanations for your fatigue.” That goes for ongoing feelings of exhaustion to concerns about muscle fatigue being more pronounced or prolonged than might be expected from physical activity.

Some of the most common causes of fatigue – and easiest things to test for – involve deficiencies in three minerals and two vitamins, Komaroff says. After iron comes lack of magnesium, potassium, vitamin B12 and folic acid. “All of them can be corrected by giving supplements of the missing minerals or the missing vitamins,” he says, or through dietary changes.

“More serious problems than just the fatigue can develop from these vitamin and mineral deficiencies,” Komaroff says. “For example, vitamin B12 deficiency, if it goes on long enough, undiagnosed and untreated, can lead to permanent damage of the brain and the spinal cord that can affect people’s ability to move, walk and think clearly.”

Even the mundane can become imperiling – such as untreated anemia from iron deficiency. “Iron is needed to build hemoglobin, which is what is inside the red blood cell,” Komaroff explains. “It carries oxygen, which is a critical source of energy to every cell in the body.”

Anemia often occurs in women as a result of blood loss due to menstruation, though it can affect women of any age as well as men. In mild cases, it can escape detection. But as iron deficiency becomes more severe – and if left uncorrected – symptoms can escalate to include severe fatigue, headache, chest pain and increased heart rate. Besides iron, vitamin B12 or a folic acid deficiency can also lead to anemia.

One factor that may be largely to blame for vitamin deficiencies is a national obsession with restrictive diets, according to Jessica Crandall, a Denver-based registered dietitian nutritionist and a spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “Most Americans are engaging in some kind of fad diet throughout their life, and when they do that, they are cutting out food groups, [which] can cause repercussions, such as nutrient deficiencies,” Crandall says.

A big sandwich might make you sluggish; but, she says, cutting out carbohydrates – the centerpiece of several popular diets – has left many feeling like they’re forever out to lunch.

“I’ve seen a serious rise in people cutting out carbohydrates from their diet, whether it be they’re following an Atkins or South Beach or Paleo-type of diet,” Crandall says. “When you cut carbohydrates out of your diet, you essentially are restricting a lot of the B vitamins as well as essential nutrients to provide your brain’s energy it needs to function.” Low-carb consumption, and resulting deficiencies – including in vitamin B12, which is already not absorbed well by women over age 50 – can cause brain fog or mental fatigue as well as physical exhaustion, she says.

“So we know we need to make sure we’re getting B12, whether that be from fortification, supplementation or our primary source, which would be our food groups,” Crandall says. She recommends eating a variety of foods and consulting a registered dietitian if considering food restrictions to lose weight. That’s in addition to reviewing lab tests with your physician to unearth any potential deficiencies.

Haphazard calorie cutting and meal timing, including skipping meals, can also contribute to vitamin and mineral deficiencies, as well as fatigue, she says. “I always encourage my clients to eat within the first hour of waking up to better kind of fuel their metabolisms and get their brain and body functioning,” Crandall says.

Whether a vitamin or mineral deficiency is contributing to tiredness, experts say it’s always worth exploring the cause from a health and wellness standpoint. There’s no shortage of potential culprits for fatigue from lifestyle issues, such as lack of sleep and not exercising enough, to more insidious causes, including underlying heart disease.

Felicia Stoler, a registered dietitian nutritionist and exercise physiologist in private practice in Red Bank, New Jersey, recommends that those experiencing chronic fatigue see a doctor to rule out medical causes. The type of fatigue matters, too, in pinpointing if or how a vitamin or mineral deficiency may contribute. While iron, for example, might cause an overall feeling of tiredness, a lack of potassium and magnesium can contribute to muscle aches and cause a person to feel sore and weak, Stoler says.

She, too, typically starts with diet to address mineral and vitamin deficiencies that can trigger fatigue, from recommending more meat, fish, fruit – such as cantaloupe, bananas and apricots – plus potatoes, turnips and other veggies to deliver magnesium; to cashews and peanuts, whole-grain products, fish, poultry and eggs to offset a zinc deficiency, which can also cause fatigue.

“I add supplements as needed,” she says, most commonly for vitamin D deficiencies, which can also invite fatigue and hurt bone health in the long term, increasing the risk for osteoporosis.

Stoler says it’s important to heed vitamin and mineral deficiencies, including those that might contribute to fatigue, and to be mindful of the broader implications. “If you think about why we even started looking at adequate intake levels and dietary guideline levels,” she says, “it’s really preventing … illnesses or disease associated with deficiencies.”

Sources: health.usnews.com ~ By: Michael O. Schroeder ~ Image: pixabay.com

Fatigue: Why am I so tired and what can I do about it?

Fatigue is a common problem involving a physical and mental state of being extremely tired.

Physical and mental fatigue are different, but they often occur together. Long-term physical exhaustion can also lead to mental fatigue.

Poor sleep can lead to fatigue if ongoing, and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1 in 3 Americans say they do not get enough sleep. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) recommend sleeping 7 to 8 hours a day for adults over 18 years of age.

Poor sleep is associated with a variety of medical problems and health conditions. These include:

Lack of sleep can prevent a person from fulfilling their usual tasks. It can make it hard to get out of bed in the morning. When it affects safety, for example, on the road, it becomes a public health concern. In severe cases, a person may show signs similar to that of an intoxicated state.

Fast facts on fatigue:Here are some key points about fatigue. More detail is in the main article.

  • Fatigue can be due to a variety of medical conditions and health problems..
  • Some causes can include anemia, thyroid conditions, diabetes, lung and heart disease, and having recently given birth.
  • If a health condition, such as diabetes, is diagnosed and properly managed, the fatigue may go away.
  • A healthful diet and regular physical activity can help reduce fatigue for many people.

Types

Fatigue can make it hard to stay awake or to get up in the morning.

There are different types of fatigue.

Physical fatigue: A person finds it physically hard to do the things they normally do or used to do, for example, climbing stairs. It includes muscle weakness. Diagnosis may involve a strength test.

Mental fatigue: A person finds it harder to concentrate on things and stay on task. The person may feel sleepy, or have difficulty staying awake while working.

Sleepiness or fatigue?

Sleepiness can happen when a person does not have enough good-quality sleep, or when there is a lack of stimulation. It can also be a sign of a medical condition that interferes with sleep, such as sleep apnea or restess leg syndrome.

Typical sleepiness is more likely to be short term. Sleepiness and drowsiness can often be solved by getting regular and consistent sleep.

Fatigue, especially chronic fatigue, is usually linked to a medical condition or health problem. It may also be its own chronic condition known as myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) or chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS).

Causes

Fatigue is associated with many health conditions.

1) Mental health issues

It can result from stress, bereavement and grief, eating disorders, alcohol abuse, drug abuse, anxiety, moving home, boredom, and divorce. It can occur with clinical depression, either due to the depression itself, or because of associated problems, such as insomnia.

2) Endocrine and metabolic reasons

Conditions such as pregnancy, Cushing’s disease, kidney disease, electrolyte problems, diabetes, hypothyroidismanemia, and liver disease can all lead to fatigue.

3) Drugs and medications

Some antidepressants, antihypertensives, statins, steroids, antihistamines, medication withdrawal, sedatives, and anti-anxiety drugs can cause fatigue. Changes in doses or stopping medications can also be a cause.

4) Heart and lung conditions

Pneumoniaarrhythmiasasthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), valvular heart diseasecoronary heart diseasecongestive heart failureGERDacid reflux, and inflammoatory bowel disease (IBD) can cause fatigue, among many other heart, lung and digestive diseases.

5) Sleep problems

Working late, shift work, jet lag, sleep apnea, narcolepsyinsomnia, and reflux esophagitis can lead to a lack of sleep and fatigue.

6) Chemicals and substances

Vitamin deficiencies, mineral deficiencies, poisoning, and consuming too many caffeinated or alcoholic beverages may disrupt normal sleep, especially if these are consumed too close to bedtime.

7) Various diseases, conditions, states, and treatments

Cancerchemotherapy, myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME), radiation therapychronic fatigue syndrome (CFS)fibromyalgia, systemic lupusrheumatoid arthritisobesity, massive blood loss, and weakened immune systems can all cause fatigue.

Fatigue can also be a sign of infection. Some infections that cause extreme tiredness include malariatuberculosis (TB)infectious mononucleosiscytomegalovirus (CMV)HIV infection, flu, and hepatitis, among many others.

8) Chronic pain

Patients with chronic pain often wake up frequently through the night. They typically wake up tired and poorly rested, unable to get good quality sleep. The combination of pain and lack of sleep can cause persistent tiredness and fatigue.

Some diseases and conditions where pain is the main symptom, such as fibromyalgia, may also be linked to other conditions, such as sleep apnea. This further worsens syptoms of fatigue. In one study on fibromyalgia and sleep, half of the individuals with fbromyalgia also had sleep apnea.

9) Being overweight or underweight

Being overweight increases the risk of fatigue, for various reasons. These include having to carry more weight, being more likely to have joint and muscle pain, and being more likely to have a condition where fatigue is a common symptom, such as diabetes or sleep apnea.

Similarly, a person who is underweight may tire easily depending on the cause of their condition. Eating disorders, cancer, chronic disease, and an overactive thyroid, can all cause weight loss along with excessive tiredness and faituge.

10) Too much or too little activity

A person who feels fatigued may not exercise, and lack of exercise can cause further fatigue. Lack of exercise may eventually cause deconditioning, making it harder and more tiring to perform a physical task.

Fatigue can also affect healthy individuals after prolonged, intense mental or physical activity. Working or staying awake for long hours without a break, especially when driving, increases the risk of errors and accidents. Statistics have shown that, among truck and bus drivers, longer hours of staying awake lead to more motor vehicle accidents.

It is important not to drive while sleepy. A survey carried out by the CDC found that around 1 in 25 drivers aged 18 years and above had fallen asleep while driving in the previous 30 days.

Symptoms

The main symptom of fatigue is exhaustion with physical or mental activity. The person does not feel refreshed after resting or sleeping. It may be hard to carry out daily activities including work, household chores, and caring for others.

The signs and symptoms of fatigue may be physical, mental, or emotional.

Common signs and symptoms associated with fatigue can include:

Body aches can be a sign of fatigue.

  • aching or sore muscles
  • apathy and lack of motivation
  • daytime drowsiness
  • difficulty in concentrating or learning new tasks
  • gastrointestinal problems such as bloating, abdominal pain, constipation, and diarrhea
  • headache
  • irritability and moodiness
  • slowed response time
  • vision problems, such as blurriness

Symptoms tend to get worse after exertion. They may appear some hours after activity or exercise, or possibly the next day.

Diagnosis

Diagnosis can be difficult, because the causes and symptoms are varied and non-specific.

The doctor may ask questions relating to:

  • the quality of the fatigue
  • patterns of the fatigue, for example, times of day when symptoms are worse or better, and whether a nap helps
  • quality of sleep including emotional state, sleep patterns and stress levels

A person can help by keeping a record of the total hours slept each day, and how often they awaken during sleep.

The physician will carry out a physical examination to check for signs of illnesses and ask the patient which medications they are using. Other factors to consider include present or recent infections, and events that may trigger fatigue, such as giving birth, having undergone surgery, or recovering from a major injury or illness.

The doctor will also ask about lifestyle habits, including diet, caffeine use, drug use, alcohol consumption, work and sleep patterns.

Diagnostic tests

These can help diagnose an underlying cause. Urine tests, imaging scans, mental health questionnaires, and blood tests may be necessary depending on other symptoms.

Tests can help rule out physical causes, such as an infection, hormonal problems, anemia, liver problems, or kidney problems. The physician may order a sleep study to rule out a sleeping disorder.

If an illness is diagnosed, that illness will be treated. Controlling diabetes, for example, may help solve the fatigue problem.

Treatment

To treat fatigue successfully, it is necessary first to find the underlying cause. Some examples could be:

  • anemia
  • sleep apnea
  • poorly controlled blood sugar
  • underactive or overactive thyroid
  • an infection
  • obesity
  • depression
  • an abnormal heart rhythm

Appropriate treatment for the condition can help alleviate fatigue.

Yoga, CBT, and mindfulness for fatigue

In one study, participants reported that fatigue, anxiety and depression fell, while quality of life improved in those with multiple sclerosis (MS) who underwent 2 months of mindfulness meditation training.

study on the benefits of yoga, found some improvement of symptoms of fatigue and sleep quality in cancer survivors. The 4-week program included postures, meditation, breathing, and some other techniques.

A 2017 study reviewed the benefits of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), mindfulness, and yogaon treating sleep disturbances in breast cancer patients. Researchers reported those who participated in CBT appeared to have the most improvement in sleep, with decreased fatigue, depression, and anxiety, along with improved quality of life.

Results from studies on mindfulness and yoga were not as clear, but seemed to show slight improvement or at least some benefit, overall.

Home treatment

Here are some tips for overcoming fatigue.

Sleep

Quality sleep is an important part of managing fatigue. To practice good sleep hygiene:

  • Aim to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day, even on days off.
  • Set the bedroom temperature at a comfortable level. Cooler may be better. The National Sleep Foundation recommend a room temperature of 60 to 67°F.
  • Make sure the room is dark and quiet.
  • Avoid screen time an hour before sleeping, as the light and sounds from a TV or computer screen can stimulate brain activity, affecting sleep quality.
  • Avoid eating within 90 minutes or 2 hours before going to bed.
  • As bedtime approaches, physically and mentally slow down. Have a consistent routine. A warm bath or listening to some soothing music can help you clear your mind of stressful and worrying thoughts before going to sleep.

Keeping a sleep diary may also help.

Eating and drinking habits

Diet can affect how tired or energetic we feel.

Here are some tips:

  • Eat small frequent meals throughout the day.
  • Eat snacks that are low in sugar.
  • Avoid junk food and follow a well-balanced diet.
  • Consume plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables.
  • Drink alcoholic and caffeinated beverages in moderation, or not at all. Avoid caffeine in the afternoon and evening.

A moderate and well-balanced diet can lead to better health and better sleep.

Physical activity

Regular physical activity can help reduce fatigue by improving sleep. However, those who have not been physically active for some time should introduce exercise gradually. A doctor or sports therapist can help. Exercise during the time of day that is most productive for you.

Take a break from driving

The CDC urge people to know the warning signs of drowsiness on the road.

If a driver notices they are doing any of the following, they should pull over and take a nap or change drivers.

  • yawning and blinking
  • not remembering the last few miles they have driven
  • missing an exit
  • drifting across the lane
  • driving onto a rumble strip
  • having trouble staying focused

If fatigue and sleepiness are affecting your daily life, and none of these tips work, you should see a doctor.

Source: medicalnewstoday.com ~ By:  ~ Image: pixabay.com

Common Cold Symptoms

The common cold is a viral infection of your nose and throat (upper respiratory tract). It’s usually harmless, although it might not feel that way. Many types of viruses can cause a common cold.

Children younger than six are at greatest risk of colds, but healthy adults can also expect to have two or three colds annually.

Most people recover from a common cold in a week or 10 days. Symptoms might last longer in people who smoke. If symptoms don’t improve, see your doctor.

Symptoms

Symptoms of a common cold usually appear one to three days after exposure to a cold-causing virus. Signs and symptoms, which can vary from person to person, might include:

  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Sore throat
  • Cough
  • Congestion
  • Slight body aches or a mild headache
  • Sneezing
  • Low-grade fever
  • Generally feeling unwell (malaise)

The discharge from your nose may become thicker and yellow or green in color as a common cold runs its course. This isn’t an indication of a bacterial infection.

When to see a doctor

For adults — seek medical attention if you have:

  • Fever greater than 101.3 F (38.5 C)
  • Fever lasting five days or more or returning after a fever-free period
  • Shortness of breath
  • Wheezing
  • Severe sore throat, headache or sinus pain

For children — in general, your child doesn’t need to see the doctor for a common cold. But seek medical attention right away if your child has any of the following:

  • Fever of 100.4 F (38 C) in newborns up to 12 weeks
  • Rising fever or fever lasting more than two days in a child of any age
  • Symptoms that worsen or fail to improve
  • Severe symptoms, such as headache or cough
  • Wheezing
  • Ear pain
  • Extreme fussiness
  • Unusual drowsiness
  • Lack of appetite

Causes

Although many types of viruses can cause a common cold, rhinoviruses are the most common culprit.

A cold virus enters your body through your mouth, eyes or nose. The virus can spread through droplets in the air when someone who is sick coughs, sneezes or talks.

It also spreads by hand-to-hand contact with someone who has a cold or by sharing contaminated objects, such as utensils, towels, toys or telephones. If you touch your eyes, nose or mouth after such contact or exposure, you’re likely to catch a cold.

Risk factors

These factors can increase your chances of getting a cold:

  • Age. Children younger than six are at greatest risk of colds, especially if they spend time in child-care settings.
  • Weakened immune system. Having a chronic illness or otherwise weakened immune system increases your risk.
  • Time of year. Both children and adults are more susceptible to colds in fall and winter, but you can get a cold any time.
  • Smoking. You’re more likely to catch a cold and to have more severe colds if you smoke.
  • Exposure. If you’re around many people, such as at school or on an airplane, you’re likely to be exposed to viruses that cause colds.

Complications

  • Acute ear infection (otitis media). This occurs when bacteria or viruses enter the space behind the eardrum. Typical signs and symptoms include earaches and, in some cases, a green or yellow discharge from the nose or the return of a fever following a common cold.
  • Asthma. A cold can trigger an asthma attack.
  • Acute sinusitis. In adults or children, a common cold that doesn’t resolve can lead to inflammation and infection of the sinuses (sinusitis).
  • Other secondary infections. These include strep throat (streptococcal pharyngitis), pneumonia, and croup or bronchiolitis in children. These infections need to be treated by a doctor.

Prevention

There’s no vaccine for the common cold, but you can take common-sense precautions to slow the spread of cold viruses:

  • Wash your hands. Clean your hands thoroughly and often with soap and water, and teach your children the importance of hand-washing. If soap and water aren’t available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Disinfect your stuff. Clean kitchen and bathroom countertops with disinfectant, especially when someone in your family has a cold. Wash children’s toys periodically.
  • Use tissues. Sneeze and cough into tissues. Discard used tissues right away, then wash your hands carefully.

    Teach children to sneeze or cough into the bend of their elbow when they don’t have a tissue. That way they cover their mouths without using their hands.

  • Don’t share. Don’t share drinking glasses or utensils with other family members. Use your own glass or disposable cups when you or someone else is sick. Label the cup or glass with the name of the person with the cold.
  • Steer clear of colds. Avoid close contact with anyone who has a cold.
  • Choose your child care center wisely. Look for a child care setting with good hygiene practices and clear policies about keeping sick children at home.
  • Take care of yourself. Eating well, getting exercise and enough sleep, and managing stress might help you keep colds at bay.

Source: mayoclinic.com ~  Image: pixabay.com