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News Release

   PO 360
   Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

   For Release:
   February 7, 2002


Clifton R. Lacy, M.D.
Acting Commissioner

For Further Information Contact:
Laura Otterbourg or Dennis McGowan

Prevention is Key During Cold and Flu Season

TRENTON - The old saying tells us to "feed a cold and starve a fever." Or is it the other way around?

It really doesn't matter because, although medical experts have been looking for years to find a cure for the flu and common cold, that search is still in progress. Thus, prevention becomes the key to surviving both ailments. Acting Commissioner of the Department of Health and Senior Services Clifton R. Lacy, M.D. offers these suggestions to avoid catching a cold or the flu:

    Wash your hands often. Washing with soap and water removes viruses and decreases the chance of spreading cold and flu viruses.
    Avoid close contact with anyone suffering from a cold. Cold viruses easily spread from the hands of someone who is ill to the eyes, nose and hands of someone who is not. Cold viruses are also easily spread through sneezing.
    Discard used tissues right away. They are active carriers of cold and flu viruses.
    Keep kitchen and bathroom counter tops clean, especially when someone in your family has a cold.
    When indoors, make sure the air is not too dry. Open a window if you can. Dry nasal passages are more vulnerable to the cold virus.
    Quit smoking. Those who smoke are more susceptible to colds and other respiratory illnesses.

Like a cold, influenza is spread through close contact with someone who is infected. Tips for avoiding colds are also effective in avoiding flu. If you do get such a virus, here are things you can do to feel better while it lasts:

    Get plenty of rest -- as much as 12 hours or more a night.
    Drink liquids -- to keep mucus thin and easy to clear.
    Take aspirin, acetaminophen or ibuprofen to relieve headache, muscle ache and fever, as per physician and product labeling recommendations. Over-the-counter cold medications can offer temporary relief for nasal congestion and sore throat. There are also prescription-only medications that can relieve flu symptoms.
    Never give aspirin to a child younger than 16 without a doctor's advice, and don't give cold medications to children less than 6 years old.

For more information on the flu, see the Department of Health and Senior Services website ( The site includes an influenza fact sheet, a list of New Jersey flu clinics and a weekly update of flu activity as reported by schools, nursing homes and hospitals as well as information on other health-related matters.

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Department of Health and Senior Services
P. O. Box 360
Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

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