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Flu vs. Pneumonia – Know the Symptoms

What’s the Difference between Flu vs. Pneumonia?

flu vs pneumonia

One of the main differences in the flu vs pneumonia.  One of the main differences is one is a bacterial infection and one is a viral infection.  Do you know which is which?

Below are guidelines to follow to determine what you might have.

The Flu

  • Hits suddenly
  • Usually characterized by fever, a dry cough and head-to-toe body aches.  Other symptoms may include a headache, sore throat and, occasionally nausea and diarrhea.
  • Anti-virals can treat the flu and work the best if they are started within 48 hours of your symptom onset.  If you’re pregnant, over 65, or have any chronic illnesses (such as asthma, emphysema, cancer or heart disease), see your doctor immediately. They may choose to treat you with anti-viral medications.
  • If you are generally healthy, you can call the doctor to see if anti-virals medications are appropriate for you.
  • If you are short of breath, having trouble breathing, or seem to be getting worse with each passing day, call you doctor immediately.

Pneumonia

  • Requires antibiotics to treat
  • Characterized by a significant cough which usually produces phlegm, fever, shortness of breath and fatigue.
  • Adults with the flu describe themselves as feeling wiped out and admit to missing more than one day of work “because I just didn’t have the energy to go.”
  • It comes on gradually (unlike the flu), and typically does not cause severe aches and pains like the flu.

Bronchitis

  • No fever is typically found.
  • Usually has a productive cough and irritated chest but usually doesn’t make you short of breath or fatigued so you are staying in bed or missing work.
  • If you’re a healthy individual and non smoker, you rarely need antibiotics.
  • If you have asthma, smoke, or any illness that affects your lungs, contact us as you may need antibiotics.

Find out more about Bronchitis from our previous blog post – Bronchitis – What You Need to Know

Sinusitis

  • No fever is typically found.
  • Usually does not need antibiotics.
  • Is characterized by thick, colorful mucus and a feeling of a heavy head.
  • Can be treated with over-the-counter therapies (decongestants and saltwater nasal spray) aggressively for seven days. If there is no improvement after 7 days, call us.
If you have the symptoms for pneumonia, be sure to call your doctor or us right away so you can get the antibiotics you need to get better.
Know the symptoms of flu vs. pneumonia. When in doubt – see your doctor or come into to our Urgent Care at the closest location to you.

Is Your Thyroid Making You Gain Weight?

thyroid awareness month

An under-active thyroid can make you overweight even if you don’t eat much. It makes your metabolism slow to a crawl. Is Your Thyroid Making You Fat?

Check your thyroidHere’s what you may experience with hyperthyroidism:

  • Appetite change (decrease or increase)
  • Difficulty sleeping (insomnia)
  • Fatigue
  • Frequent bowel movement—perhaps diarrhea
  • Heart palpitations
  • Heat intolerance
  • Increased sweating
  • Irritability
  • Light menstrual periods—perhaps even missed periods
  • Mental disturbances
  • Muscle weakness
  • Nervousness
  • Problems with fertility
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sudden paralysis
  • Tremor/shakiness
  • Vision changes
  • Weight loss-but perhaps weight gain
  • Dizziness
  • Thinning of hair
  • Itching and hives
  • Possible increase in blood sugar

Do you feel fatigued and sluggish, especially when you wake up in the morning? Are you cold all the time? Do you have dry skin, coarse hair, or hair loss? Are you depressed? Are you constipated? Do you have muscle and joint pains? Do you have trouble losing weight no matter what you do?

If you answer ‘yes’ to any of these questions, you may be suffering from hypothyroidism, a potentially dangerous health condition that occurs when there is too little active thyroid hormone in your blood.

While the symptoms above might not sound like a major problem on the surface, a problem with low thyroid can actually have a catastrophic impact on your health and weight. It is often a hidden factor in many diseases, including depression, heart disease, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, PMS (premenstrual syndrome), menopausal symptoms, muscle and joint pains, irritable bowel syndrome, autoimmune diseases, and obesity.

“Half of all people with hypothyroidism are never diagnosed.”

Half of all people with hypothyroidism are never diagnosed. The main reason is that the symptoms are not very specific and are often present for many reasons besides a thyroid disorder. Even if you have all the symptoms of low thyroid function, they can still easily be ignored.

Your doctor may use typical tests for thyroid problems and find that your thyroid appears to be functioning in the ‘normal range’. ‘Normal’ does not mean it is optimum. Many times doctors don’t do the right tests, so your thyroid problems go undetected. You may be told you have borderline thyroid problems or sub-clinical thyroid disease and your doctor will watch it… what will he watch it for? For you to get really sick?

What does your Thyroid do?

The thyroid gland is an organ located in the front of your neck and releases hormones that control your metabolism (the way your body uses energy), breathing, heart rate, nervous system, weight, body temperature, and many other functions in the body. It is a small hormonal gland in your neck that makes the inactive hormone called T4, and the active hormone, T3. T3 is the major metabolism hormone and controls almost every function of the body. If you produce too little T3, or if the T4 you produce is not being properly converted into T3, your whole system goes haywire.

Our Thyroid Solution System provides an entirely new way of thinking about health and disease. This program looks at the body as a whole system and addresses the underlying causes of hypothyroidism. It provides a detailed plan for those who have been on thyroid medication for years and told they would have to stay on it for life; it’s also for those who suspect they have a low-functioning thyroid and wish to reverse it.

Causes of Hyperthyroidism

The most common cause of hyperthyroidism is the autoimmune disorder Graves’ disease. In this disorder, the body makes an antibody (a protein produced by the body to protect against a virus or bacteria) called thyroid-stimulating immunoglobulin (TSI) that causes the thyroid gland to make too much thyroid hormone. Graves’ disease runs in families and is more commonly found in women.

Hyperthyroid Treatments

Hyperthyroidism can be treated with antithyroid medications that interfere with the production of thyroid hormones (primarily methimazole; propylthiouracil is now used only for women in the first trimester of pregnancy). Another option is radioactive iodine therapy to damage the cells that make thyroid hormones. In rare cases in which women do not respond to or have side effects from these therapies, surgery to remove the thyroid (either one part of the entire gland) may be necessary. The choice of treatment will depend on the severity and underlying cause of your symptoms, your age, whether you are pregnant, other conditions you may have, and the potential side effects of the medication.

In addition to these treatments, your doctor may also prescribe beta-blockers to block the effects of thyroid hormones on your body. For example, beta-blockers help slow down a rapid heart rate and reduce hand tremors.

At West Valley Urgent Care, we can run the tests and diagnose Hyperthryroidism and help treat the condition.

Sources:  EndocrineWeb, MayoClinic

What is Walking Pneumonia

walking pneumonia symptoms

This is the season for pneumonia.  Walking pneumonia is not a medical term.  It is pneumonia, only a mild case of it and easiest to treat. Although the person feels bad, they do not need to be hospitalized.

Symptoms of Walking Pneumonia

After you are exposed to someone with pneumonia (mycoplasma), the symptoms usually show up 15 to 25 days after exposure. These symptoms develop slowly over 2 to 4 days.  Walking pneumonia symptoms include:

  • Cough that can become violent spasms, however very little mucus is produced
  • Mild flu-like symptoms including fever and chills
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • Tiredness
  • Weakness that lingers after other symptoms may decrease

While not common, some people may also experience an ear infection, anemia or a skin rash.

How is Walking Pneumonia Diagnosed?

It is wise to see a doctor so you can stop the infection and start to feel better.  At your appointment, your doctor will ask you about the symptoms and how long you’ve experienced them.  They will ask if others are showing symptoms or have been diagnosed with pneumonia. Your doctor will also listen to your lungs with a stethoscope.  A blood test is available to identify the mycoplasma infection, however it is rarely used unless a widespread outbreak is occurring.

How is Walking Pneumonia Treated?

Your doctor will prescribe antibiotics to treat the infection.  Mild infections are not often treated as they tend to clear on their own. Generally, people who follow the antibiotics prescription will feel better within a few days.

Over-the-counter medicines used for flus and cold may not provide complete relief from the symptoms.  It is important to drink plenty of fluids and rest.  Talk to your doctor about all medications you take during your appointment.

If you feel you may be suffering from walking pneumonia, please call to schedule an appointment or walk in to one of our urgent care locations.

Health Alert: Upper Respirator Infections

Health Alert

We are seeing a large number of patients with upper respiratory infections.  If you feel sick, come in before the infection worsens.

Request an appointment online!

Understanding an Upper Respiratory Infection

common cold
Don’t suffer from the common cold or the flu.

The upper respiratory tract includes our nasal passages, sinuses, pharynx and larynx.  The air we breath is directed through these structures and into our lungs where respiration occurs.  When these get infected, you may experience sneezing, coughing, a sore throat and feeling stuffed up with mucus.

These infections can be either bacterial or viral — and the most common URI (upper respiratory infection) is the common cold — while other infections include sinus infections, laryngitis and tonsilitis.

Causes of an Upper Respiratory Infection

There are over 200 different varieties of viruses which can cause the symptoms of a URI or cold.  The most common is the rhinovirus.

After the virus enters your body, it causes a reaction as your body’s immune system begins to fight it off.  This, in turn, can cause:

  • A Runny nose/increase in mucus production.
  • Swelling of the lining of the nose making it harder to breath and causing congestion
  • Sneezing from your nose being irritated
  • Cough from the increase mucus dripping down your throat

How to Treat a Upper Respiratory Infection

To help you feel better, most URI’s are treated to relieve the symptoms. Some benefit from the use of cough suppressants, expectorants, vitamin C, and zinc to reduce symptoms and shorten the duration.

Nasal decongestants can improve breathing and make you feel a little better; however the treatment can cause rebound nasal congestion

Homeopathic remedies include steam inhalation, gargling with salt water, and the use of a neti pot to reduce congestion.

Analgesics like acetaminophen (Advil, Motrin, etc.) can help reduce fever, aches and pains.

When to See a Doctor for a URI

If you or your child have any of the following conditions, please see your healthcare provider or call us:

  • A fever greater than 100.4°F (38°C)
  • Symptoms lasting more than 10 days
  • Symptoms that are NOT relieved by over-the-counter drugs.

If you are feeling under the weather, come in and a diagnosis at one of our urgent cares so we can get you back on the road to recovery.

Click here for a list of locations and phone numbers.

 

When to go to the ER vs. Urgent Care

Do you know when you should go to the ER vs. Urgent Care?

Many people do not know what conditions they should go to the Emergency Room (ER) vs. what an urgent care can handle.

Emergency rooms are not always the fastest choice for your medical care needs-and definitely not the most cost effective.

Don’t jeopardize your health. Here’s some helpful info.er vs. urgent care
Urgent Cares

Urgent care is mostly focused on primary care involving individual medical complaint or condition, such as a urinary tract infection, minor laceration, red eye, broken bones, allergic reaction without airway compromise, or other conditions that can easily be managed by your primary care physician. Urgent cares can usually handle problems like stitches, sprains and X-rays. Things that need immediate attention, but aren’t life threatening.

Urgent care advantages:

  • No Appointment needed
  • Can take care of most non-emergent conditions
  • Shorter wait times than typical ER’s
  • Saves money – Lower  co-pay or co-insurance than an ER visit

Emergency Room

Go to the ER if . . .
  • You think you are having a heart attack or a stroke.
  • You think you are having a miscarriage.
  • You are coughing up bright red blood, vomiting blood, or are hemorrhaging at a rapid rate.
  • You have suffered a significant head injury or blow to the head or neck.
  • You have intense abdominal pain, or intractable vomiting accompanied by severe abdominal pain.
  • You are experiencing a severe or extreme headache/ migraine, or pain anywhere in your body that is more than a “10” on a pain scale of “0 to 10,” with 0 being no pain at all and 10 being the worst pain you’ve had in your life.
  • You can’t stop an acute asthma attack (“status asthmaticus”), can’t catch your breath, or are having severe shortness of breath accompanied by pain in your chest when you breathe.
  • You are experiencing sudden vision loss or loss of your peripheral (“side”) vision.
  • You are having a seizure.
  • You suffered a back injury and have lost control of your bladder or bowels, have lost sensation in your buttocks, and/or can’t walk because your legs suddenly feel “like jelly.
  • You’re in diabetic ketoacidosis. Believe us, most diabetics know when they are in this potentially fatal state, because they’ve probably been hospitalized for it before, perhaps as a child or teenager. You can easily recognize them in the ER. They are breathing rapidly and deeply, with breath that smells like acetone. They may also have severe abdominal pain and be vomiting repeatedly and uncontrollably.We highly encourage all patients with life-threatening injuries and illnesses to visit their nearest hospital or emergency room.
Here’s some helpful blog articles to learn more.

West Valley Urgent Care offers three locations in the Phoenix valley to serve you.

6 Tips for a Healthy Happy New Year

new-years-resolutions-postits

Did you make your New Year’s Resolutions?  Every January 1 marks a new year and many people look at it as a time to reset.  Why not use it wisely?  We’d like to offer 5 tips for a healthy happy new year.

  1. Do One Thing Less

Most people add things to their list as part of your New Year’s resolutions.  By subtracting things, you can make more room in your life to add things that are more meaningful.

Is there someone you don’t enjoy spending time with or are you watching too much TV?  Think about what you can subtract from your life to add more quality time.

2. Make Quarterly Resolutions, Instead of New Year’s Resolutions

Choose something you’d like to focus on for each quarter of the New Year.  We may have many great ideas and we try to tackle them all at once.  Instead, try something for 90 days and then go on to another idea/habit.

You could set three doable goals for each quarter, one for each of the following categories:

  • Career
  • Relationships
  • Self

3. Stop Trying to Be a Perfectionist.

Forget the all or nothing attitude. Let’s say you have one slice of pizza, since you messed up, should you continue to eat half the pizza? Perhaps you want to cook every dinner as a healthy one. Why not hold yourself to a goal of three per week. The key is taking steps in the right direction and holding to it, not being perfect.

4.  Focus on People and Your Own Health

Three great things for everyone is to  human it to make connections,  be good to yourself, and fall in love.  According to a recent analysis by the London School of Economics, relationships and good mental health, not income, have the biggest impact on our happiness.

When people have a partner and enjoy a life free of depression and anxiety, their satisfaction with live rises.  A boost in income, on the other hand, has little effect, said the researcher.

5.  Unplug

It’s important to give yourself time to unplug from emails, our smartphones, and social media.  By doing this, it helps us rest and recover and allows us to reboot, said Leah Lagos, a licensed clinical psychologist in New York.

Try to set aside one or two days when you make a commitment to unplug and be mindful of where your attention is focused. Use that technology-free time to focus on family, friends, and being in nature.

6.  Exercise More

No one can dispute the advantages of exercise for a healthier mind and body. Schedule time to exercise and do things you enjoy when you exercise. It’s more important to get out there and do exercise, whether its a relaxing walk or a brisk jog. The more you exercise and get your heart rate up, the better.

Let’s all do our best to make 2017 a happy, healthy year! If you need a check on your health, please make an appointment at one of our clinics.

What to Do If Someone Is Having a Heart Attack

According to the CDC, every 43 seconds someone is suffering from a heart attack in the U.S.. Do you know what to do? In a heart attack, the big blood vessels supplying blood to the heart shut off. The longer it takes to get treatment, the greater the damage to the heart muscle. The heart may have a big bruise afterwards. Do you know what to do if someone is having a heart attack?what to do if someone is having a heart attack

  1. Call 911 as emergency help is needed! The emergency staff has the tools to help such as high dose oxygen and medicines to minimize the damage to the heart.  Find out the emergency facility that can handle heart attacks and strokes closest to your home.
  2. Ease strain on the heart.  Get the person to lay down and elevate the upper torso slightly. This helps as the heart doesn’t have to work as hard. Loosen clothing at the neck, chest and waist.
  3. If the person is fully conscious, give the person 300 mg of aspirin and have them chew it so it can be absorbed faster.  This is needed in the blood stream immediately so chew! It’s smart to carry with you.
  4. Learn CPR as this can help keep the person alive.
  5. Learn where the closest electronic defibrilator is. This can be used to restart the heart.  These devices have clear instructions and are designed to be used by the public.

Warning Signs of a Heart Attack

Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or that goes away and comes back. If can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain.

Other signs include shortness of breath and may include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lighteadedness.

Call 911 if any of these symptoms are showing!

Never try to self diagnose if you think you or someone is having a heart attack.  The ambulance crew will determine this and route you to the right hospital.  

What is a Heart Attack

A heart attack occurs when a blockage in one or more coronary arteries reduces or stops the flow of blood to the heart, which starves part of the heart muscle of oxygen.

The blockage might be complete or partial, according to the American Heart Association.

  • A complete blockage of a coronary artery means you suffered a ‘STEMI’ heart attack — which stands for ST-elevation myocardial infarction.
  • A partial blockage would be an ‘NSTEMI’ heart attack — a non-ST-elevation myocardial infarction.

Diagnostic steps differ for a STEMI versus NSTEMI heart attack, although there can be some overlap.

Some hospitals use a procedure called percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), a mechanical means of treating heart attack. About 36% of hospitals in the U.S. are equipped to use PCI.  (This is why it is helpful to know the closest hospital that handles heart attacks and strokes).

At a hospital that uses PCI, you would likely be sent to the department that specializes in cardiac catheterization (usually called a cath lab) for a diagnostic angiogram to examine blood flow to your heart and test how well the heart is pumping.

A hospital that does not use PCI might transfer you to one that does. Or, it may decide to administer drugs known as fibrinolytic agents to restore blood flow. You might be given an angiography (an imaging technique used to see inside your arteries, veins and heart chambers).

 

   

Life Expectancy Drops First Time in Decades

Life expectancy drops
Life expectancy in the U.S. fell for the first time in decades: from 76.5 to 76.3 for men and 81.3 to 81.2 for women. Small declines, to be sure, but researchers are nonetheless concerned says article from NPR.

Scientists measure life expectancy and the well-being of a nation by the rate at which citizens die and how long they can be expected to live.

For the first time in a decade, the overall U.S. death rate increases, according to an analysis of the latest data. We learned that a drop in overall life expectancy dropped for the first time since 1993, particularly among people younger than 65.

“This is a big deal,” says Philip Morgan, a demographer at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill who was not involved in the new analysis.

“There’s not a better indicator of well-being than life expectancy,” he says. “The fact that it’s leveling off in the U.S. is a striking finding.”

“It’s remarkable,” Morgan says. “There are lots of things about this that are unexpected.”

Most notably, the overall death rate for Americans increased because mortality from heart disease and stroke increased after declining for years. Deaths were also up from Alzheimer’s disease, respiratory disease, kidney disease and diabetes. More Americans also died from unintentional injuries and suicide. In all, the decline was driven by increases in deaths from eight of the top 10 leading causes of death in the U.S.

“When you see increases in so many of the leading causes of death, it’s difficult to pinpoint one particular cause as the culprit,” Anderson says.

One thing that could be playing a roll is the obesity epidemic, which increases deaths from heart disease, strokes, diabetes and possibly Alzheimer’s.

Another factor could be the epidemic of prescription opoid painkillers and heroin abuse, increasing unintentional injuries, reported Arun Hendi, a demographer at Duke University in an email. The rise in drug abuse and suicide could be due to economic factors causing despair.

This drop could be a blip and we’ll watch what happens in the second half of 2016, said Robert Anderson, chief of the mortality statistics branch at the National Center for Health Statistics.

Source: Public Health: Life Expectancy in U.S. Drops for First Time In Decades, Report Finds by Rob Stein, NPR

9 Ways Doctors & Nurses Avoid Getting Sick

Cold and flu season is upon us, so who better to take advice from than people who see sneezing, hacking patients every day? You may already know a few ways to avoid getting sick—wash your hands, get enough sleep, stay hydrated—but there are others you may not have thought of. (When’s the last time you disinfected your smartphone, for example?) Here, doctors and nurses give their best tips and advice for boosting your immune system.

9 ways doctors and nurses avoid getting sick - wash your hands1. Rethink that extra drink.
You don’t have to skip that glass of wine with dinner; just think twice before you down the whole bottle. According to the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, studies have shown that excessive alcohol suppresses the immune system by reducing the ability of white blood cells to effectively kill bacteria—so you’d be wise to stick to the recommended one drink per day for women. Alcohol is also dehydrating and can disrupt your sleep—two more ways to lower your defenses. (Already sick? Romy Block, MD, an endocrinologist and assistant professor at Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine, says that a single drink can lengthen the duration of the virus by a few days.)

2. Steer clear of sugar.
“Personally, I feel better and avoid getting as sick when I skip having those gummy bears for a snack,” says Michelle Katz, author of Healthcare Made Easy. Take her advice and resist reaching for that soda—or cookie or candy bar—especially during cold and flu season. That’s because, like alcohol, sugar inhibits white blood cells from engulfing bacteria and viruses. According to Katz, women should aim for 6 teaspoons or fewer a day, and 9 teaspoons or fewer for men (a 12-ounce can of soda contains about 10 teaspoons of sugar).

3.  Get vaccinated already.
This year will likely be an especially bad one when it comes to the flu. The dominant strain going around—H3N2—is one of the nastier varieties, known to cause twice as many hospitalizations and deaths as other strains, according to the CDC. And while the current vaccine was designed to protect against H3N2 (plus several other strains), the virus has mutated, making the vaccine less effective—but that doesn’t mean you should skip the shot. “Out of everything you can do to prevent yourself from getting sick, this is probably No. 1,” says Joel Blass, MD, medical director at Workmen’s Circle Multicare Center in the Bronx. “Even if it’s totally not on the mark, you’re still protecting yourself against three viruses that could already be out there.”

West Valley Urgent Care has vaccinations on hand.  Walk in and get your shot.

4.  Wash everything you touch.
When’s the last time you washed your washing machine? According to Shawn Westadt Mueller, RN, director of infection prevention and control at Medstar Union Memorial Hospital in Baltimore, “bacteria likes warm, dark, and moist places, so your washing machine could harbor germs, especially over time.” Her advice: Put two tablespoons of white vinegar where the detergent usually goes, and run the “clean” cycle.

And how often do you clean your phones, microwave, keyboard, doorknobs, light switches, bed rails, remote controls, and children’s toys? Not often enough, most likely. Use soap and water or alcohol-based disinfecting wipes during your regular weekly cleaning—even more often during cold and flu season—to stop the spread of germs on these high-touch surfaces. There’s even the PhoneSoap Charger, which sanitizes your cell phone with UV light in less than five minutes.

5.  Pop probiotics.
Approximately 60% to 70% of your entire immune system is located in your gut. As Alexander Rinehart, a certified nutrition specialist, puts it, “Your gut is a barrier between the outside world and your body’s internal world.” This barrier is covered in part by healthy bacteria, which prevents infections and pathogens from being absorbed. While studies are ongoing, many—including one recently published in the British Journal of Nutrition—show promise in the effectiveness of probiotic supplements at preventing respiratory illness like the common cold. In addition to supplements, you can also incorporate probiotics into your diet by way of kombucha (fermented tea) or kimchi (fermented vegetables) which, as Rinehart puts it, “may be more ideal than the sugar-laden yogurts in the grocery aisle.”

6.  Don’t even think about biting your nails.
Unless you’re constantly washing your hands (and your phone and your keyboard), your fingers are probably covered in germs that can infect your portal entries, like your eyes, nose, and throat, says New York-based doctor Louis J. Morledge, MD. Plus, Germs build up underneath your nails, and biting them is a surefire way to let bacteria into your body, says Scott S. Topiol, RN, and president of Murseworld.com.

7.  Exercise—but not too hard.
“After moderate to intense exercise—say, running for 40 to 60 minutes without stopping—there is a 72-hour window during which your body is severely distressed, and that’s a time when people are susceptible to getting sick,” says Scott Weiss, MD, who has treated athletes in the NFL, NHL, WNBA, and was part of the sports medicine team at the Athens and Beijing Olympic Games. “You have to let your body recover and not force it to work hard while it’s in a weakened state.” According to a study from Appalachian State University, heavy exertion increases the athlete’s risk of upper respiratory tract infections because of negative changes in immune function and elevation of the stress hormones, epinephrine, and cortisol. On the flip side, research shows that easy to moderate exercise actually boosts your immune system.

8.  Hold your breath.
Most germs enter your body through your nose or mouth—so if you’re around someone who’s sick or next to someone who sneezes, avoid taking big inhalations. “Just being conscious of your breath around a sick person can help keep you from getting infected,” says Weiss. A recent study released from MIT revealed that coughs and sneezes—and their potentially infectious droplets—travel much farther distances than previously thought. A good rule of thumb: if you see or hear someone sneeze nearby, hold your breath for 10 to 15 seconds.

9.  Get some fresh air even when it’s freezing out.
Getting some fresh air is advice that dates all the way back to Florence Nightingale. “One reason we get sick when it’s colder is because we’re sharing more inside air,” says Mueller. “It’s not like when you’re on the beach and everyone has their own space.” Mueller recommends just opening a window or, better yet, walking out your front door (just be sure to bundle up). Also invest in an air purifier. There are some filter-less models on the market designed specifically to remove or inactivate bacteria and viruses. The Virus Zero, for example, neutralizes airborne contaminants (influenza, bacteria, fungi, allergens) and the RxAir destroys pathogens by using germicidal UV lights.

The original article appeared in Prevention.com.  By Brooke Porter Katz.