JAN 09, 2018 08:31 AM PST
Bundle Up Against Bitter Cold Weather
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In addition to Bombogenesis 2018, much of the United States is dealing with record cold temperatures. While being cold isn't what causes the common cold, flu or other respiratory illnesses, to stay healthy, there are some precautions to take in weather this extreme. This flu season is already showing itself to be one of the worst in a long while. The vaccine is estimated to only protect against roughly 10% of the strains that are circulating, so there are more cases of influenza. When temperatures are this extreme, many people tend to "hibernate" indoors. While that protects against windburn, frostbite, and exposure, it can increase the chances of upper respiratory illness because there is just nowhere for germs to go. Windows are not open, heating systems keep germs alive long, and everyone is just too close for comfort when the viral droplets start to fly.

Doctors advise people at this time of the year to keep themselves hydrated, with warm or hot liquids if possible. These kill more germs than cold beverages. Handwashing is crucial as well because more time spent indoors means that more bacteria are left on surfaces. Bundling up is key as well, with layers. A scarf over the face can do wonders to keep out airborne germs.

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