Guest Post – Trish Sweeney, Stopping Colds & Flu Before They Start: Smart Strategies You Can Use Now

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womanWith cold and flu season around the corner, how can you stay healthy in the coming months? There are three approaches: prevention via vaccine (for the flu only), treating or shortening the duration of colds and flu, and preventing them from gaining a foothold by using barrier products.

Prevention with a Single Dose

A flu shot is the best, earliest way you can avoid a miserable week in bed. Each year, the CDC determines which types of flu are likely to be transmitted. Vaccine is then manufactured and distributed across the U.S. at doctor’s offices, hospitals and walk in clinics. Generally costing $20-30 and often covered by insurance, they can be given through a shot in the arm or inhaled through the nose. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the nasal spray flu vaccine reduced the chance of influenza illness by 92%.

Treating or Shortening The Duration of Colds and Flu

If you’re alert to symptoms—achy joints, fever, scratchy throat, stuffy nose—you may able to respond quickly and treat a cold or flu early.

Are you in touch with your body? If you’re alert to symptoms—achy joints, fever, scratchy throat, stuffy nose—you may able to respond quickly and treat a cold or flu early. Antiviral drugs—usually obtained by a doctor’s prescription–can lessen the severity and duration of the flu but can be a bit more expensive. One popular brand I’ve seen offered is $99. Other options include over the counter holistic treatments, homeopathic remedies and immune system boosters from $5 to $25 or more depending on the product.

Barrier Products

Used diligently, alcohol based hand sanitizers and disinfecting wipes can reduce the spread of cold germs and flu virus. These can cost as little as a dollar for travel sizes. Now, there are other products that reduce your exposure to germs, viruses and bacteria.
Because they’re used daily, often in high traffic areas, handbags can act as a subway for millions of germs. One company now offers a hanger that goes on the outside of the purse. The advantage is clear: it’s easy to find so it’s used more often. Another plus: this type of hook goes on the bag’s strap, minimizing contact with germs. MSRP: $20-40.

soapMore Tips

According to the CDC, a thorough hand washing with warm, soapy water for at least 20 seconds can reduce the spread of infection and illness. If you’re in a public restroom that offers paper towels, use them to dry your hands, turn off the faucet and open the door handle. And if you’re in contact with many people during the day—cashiers, tellers, bellmen, delivery personnel—latex gloves may be the single best way to prevent illness. One brand marketed to food service personnel is 100 pairs for $4.50. That’s a small price to pay compared to the misery of the flu or common cold.

– Trish Sweeney is the vice president of Topcor, where she oversees marketing for the Clipa instant handbag hanger. For more information, please visit

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