Tag Archives: infection

Know The Signs of Encephalitis

Encephalitis is a medical term meaning inflammation of the brain. While some cases are mild and quickly resolved, it can be a very serious condition, especially in children. There are many causes of encephalitis, but the most common causes are viral infections. Let’s take a look at some of the other causes, symptoms to look out for, complications and treatment:

Symptoms of Encephalitis

Some cases of encephalitis are asymptomatic, but others may exhibit a variety of symptoms such as cold-like ones. Some of the most common symptoms include:

  • Fever or chills
  • Severe headache
  • Confusion or mental fogginess
  • Seizures
  • Weakness
  • Aches and pains
  • Hallucinations
  • Vision, speech or auditory interruptions
  • Fainting
  • False smells (smelling foul or rotten scents that aren’t really there)

Small children or babies may exhibit these symptoms:

  • Bulging of the soft part of the skull in infants
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Inconsolable fussiness
  • Stiffness
  • Irritability
  • Problems feeding

Babies or children exhibiting any of these symptoms should receive urgent medical attention.

Causes of Encephalitis

  1. Childhood infections such as rubella or the mumps.
  2. Herpes simplex virus (genital herpes is actually the most common cause of encephalitis).
  3. Animal-spread viruses such as rabies.
  4. Arboviruses – these are viruses that are carried and spread by insects, most commonly, mosquitos or ticks.
  5. Having a growth – a cancerous or noncancerous tumor.
  6. Being immunocomprimosed – If you have a weakened immune system due to disease or medications you are at greater risk of picking up an infection.

Complications of Encephalitis

There may be temporary or long-term complications such as fatigue, memory, auditory, speech or thought problems or paralysis. It may also cause brain damage, a coma or even death in instances of severe brain inflammation. Untreated or severe encephalitis has even surprisingly been linked to dementia in children.

Encephalitis Prevention and Treatment

Treatment for encephalitis varies and depends on the severity and root cause. It often includes a combination of anti-inflammatories, antiviral and antibiotic medications. There is no way to prevent encephalitis completely, but the best precautionary measure you can take is to be safe about mosquitoes and bugs, and practice good hygiene and try to avoid sick people or contaminated areas.

Thanks for visiting DocChat! We hope you drop by again soon.


Toxic Shock Syndrome – Not Always Caused by Tampons

Toxic shock syndrome (TSS) is a serious, and in rare cases fatal, bacterial infection. It occurs when the staphylococcus aureus or streptococcus pyogenes bacteria enter the body and infect the blood. The condition is very rare, some years afflicting only tens of Americans, but it can largely be prevented. For that reason, it is important to be aware of the condition and to be able to sort through myths.

Is TSS Only Caused By Tampons?

No. Even though TSS is primarily associated with tampons in the media, the condition can actually affect females or males of any age for a variety of reasons (many of which are not tampon-related). Just under half of all TSS cases are a result of a woman having left a tampon in for too long. TSS is definitely a concern for women who use tampons regularly, as it is more likely to happen to them. However, as long as women employ proper tampon health practices, they should have no problems using them. Women who use contraceptive sponges, menstrual cups or diaphragms should also practice safe application and removal techniques as those devices can potentially lead to TSS as well.

What Other Things Can Cause TSS?

TSS can also be caused by post-surgical wounds or other types or minor or major wounds or abrasions to the skin in which TSS-related bacteria can enter and infect the body. Those with compromised immune systems are also at higher risk of all kinds of infections.

What Are the Symptoms of TSS?

Symptoms may differ from person to person, but common signs and symptoms include:

  • Hypotension
  • Deep muscle aches or headache
  • Disorientation
  • Severe fever or chills
  • Generalized sunburn-like rash
  • Very red eyes or mouth
  • Stomach upset (potentially including vomiting or diarrhea)
  • Seizures

What Are the Potential Complications?

TSS can lead to vital organ failure (specifically liver) or shock, and ultimately death if it is left untreated. In some cases, survivors of TSS experience chronic lung, heart, liver or kidney problems as a result of damage caused by the infection. Therefor, if you are experiencing symptoms of a blood or body infection, get it checked out immediately to ensure you do not have TSS or a similarly dangerous infection.

How is TSS Diagnosed and Treated?

A doctor will likely perform one or several tests if he or she suspects TSS is making you sick. They may order a urine and feces test to look for the presence of staphylococcus A. A doctor may also take a vaginal swab in women or a throat swab to check for the presence of the bacteria. If the doctor determines it is TSS, he will likely have you hospitalized temporarily and administer an IV of antibiotics. Other treatments may focus on controlling symptoms such as stabilizing blood pressure.

How Can TSS Be Prevented?

Be sure to clean any wounds thoroughly and have wounds checked by a doctor if signs of external infection begin to develop. Women who wear tampons should be careful wash their hands before and after applying a tampon and never leave one in for longer than 7-8 hours. TSS has also been most associated with super-absorbent tampons than other kinds, so it would be best to try to avoid the super-absorbent kind if you are concerned with TSS. Tampons are perfectly safe when used correctly.

Thanks for visiting DocChat!


6 Signs You May Have More Than ‘Just a Cold’

We all know a cold is no more serious than a miserable week of snots and sneezes courtesy of a viral bug. So, there’s no need to go to the doctor over a cold, right? Well, that depends. If it really is just a cold, you should be fine with plenty of R&R, some over-the-counter helpers and hot liquids, but what if there is something more serious at the heart of your symptoms? Several conditions that may require prescriptions can mimic cold symptoms, such as a sinus infection, bronchitis (which can be bacterial), pneumonia or the flu. Let’s take a look at some indicators that it may be time to see a doctor about your ‘cold’:

  1. Your sniffles just won’t let up – if your congestion has extended beyond 10 days and is accompanied by a severe headache, you may have a sinus or respiratory tract infection. Sinus infections that appear to be bacterial by nature require antibiotics. If the doctor suspects it is viral, he or she may wish to prescribe inhaled corticosteroids to help ease swelling or irritation of your sinuses.
  2. You have moderate joint or neck pain – Muscle and joint pain is more commonly associated with influenza than the cold. Influenza is more serious than the common cold and can even be life-threatening. Severe neck pain accompanied with cold-like symptoms could indicate another serious illness as well: bacterial meningitis. So, if you are experiencing unusual pain along with the cold, don’t mess around!
  3. You’ve had a dry or productive cough for weeks – A simple cold shouldn’t cause a cough any longer than a week or so. If you’ve been coughing or bringing up mucus for weeks, you could have bronchitis (which sometimes requires corticosteroids), influenza or even walking pneumonia. It is important to get a nagging cough checked out.
  4. Your mild fever has gotten worse – Sometimes a cold may cause a fever, but usually it is very mild and resolves quickly. If your mild fever has turned into a more serious one (103 or higher for adults), or it has been hanging around for more than 3 days, you should check in with the doc. A rising fever could indicate a flu, pneumonia, or an infection elsewhere in the body.
  5. You have stomach symptoms – Some people believe stomach upset can go along with the common cold, but a cold usually only involves the head and throat. If you’ve been having diarrhea or have been vomiting for several days, you should seek medical attention as you may have food poisoning, a type of influenza, or another underlying medical condition.
  6. Your symptoms are hanging on longer than 10 days – The bottom line is that cold symptoms should clear up in a week to 10 days, so if you’re still plagued by a sore throat, congestion or a cough any longer than a couple weeks, you should be medically assessed.

Since it is so easy for a ‘harmless cold’ to turn into something more serious, it’s a good thing that the doctor is only a video call away and always in! Thanks for visiting DocChat, we hope you’ll come back again soon.



Is Your Eye Makeup Dangerous?

Did you know all those mascaras you’ve been accumulating in your makeup bag can be hazardous to your health? Various dangerous bacteria thrive in those little tubes if they are kept and used for too long. There are other reported health risks associated with eye make up as well, such as controversial ingredients that can easily irritate the eye. Let’s take a closer look:

What’s In Your Mascara?

Mascara dates back to the Ancient Egyptians who used a mixture containing charcoal and crocodile excrement. Eww! While there may not be any poo in our modernized mascaras, many do contain a harsh cocktail of unpronounceable ingredients such as propylene glycol, which has been known to cause skin irritations in those with sensitive skin. Many mascaras also contain aluminum powder, a potentially hazardous neurotoxin that remains on the radars of different skin safety groups such as the EWG.

How Can Old Mascara Hurt Your Health?

Old mascara tubes are the front-running culprits when it comes to make up danger. Most people don’t even notice the expiry dates on their mascaras, often keeping and using them months (or even years!) after they should have been disposed of. Big deal, right? It actually is a big deal. These little tubes provide the perfect moist little microcosm for harmful bacteria to flourish, especially since every time you use that little wand, more and more bacteria make their way back into the tube. Also, being that the eye is one of the most delicate areas of the body, its thin tissue can easily tear, allowing these infectious bacteria easy passage.

What Kind of Harmful Bacteria Live In Mascara Tubes?

Old mascara tubes can easily accumulate harmful little crawlies like pseudomonas aeruginosa, which can causes skin irritation, inflammation or potentially even sepsis! An even worse offender, methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (more commonly known as MRSA), has also been found in the tiny tubes. MRSA is known for rapidly progressing, often untreatable (and potentially deadly) infections, Eeek!

How Long Can You Safely Keep Eye Makeup?

It is recommended you throw out and replace your mascara and liquid eyeliner approximately every three months. Pencil eyeliner and cream eye shadow are usually safe for about a year. Powder eye shadow has a longer safety shelf life, with the potential to safely last up to 2 years if you keep your eyeshadow applicators clean and haven’t shared it or used it while you’ve had an eye infection. However, these rules are not hard and fast – if in doubt, throw it out!

Keep an eye out for some make-up safety tips next! Thanks for visiting DocChat!

Ear Infections in Children

Ear infections are a prevalent problem, mainly among younger children resulting in millions of visits to the doctor annually. Most children will experience at least one ear infection during childhood. Ear infections can occur in the ear canal, in the middle ear, or deep behind the eardrum, and can be quite painful.

What is an ear infection?

An ear infection occurs when mucus or fluid becomes trapped in the ear canal, often due to, or occurring with a swollen Eustachian tube. This fluid becomes infected by harmful bacterial or viral germs that are trapped in with the fluid.

Common Symptoms to Watch Out For

Run-of-the-mill ear infection symptoms include:

  • Earache (sometimes intense pain)
  • Ear discomfort and itching
  • Problems hearing
  • Fever
  • Vomiting or upset stomach
  • Fluid leakage from the ear
  • Fussiness in babies or irritability in children

What Causes an Ear Infection?

Some of the things that can cause ear canal swelling and fluid blockages that lead to an infection include:

  • Swimming (a type of ear infection known as swimmer’s ear is very painful and often reoccurs)
  • Upper respiratory infections
  • Colds, flus or allergies
  • Swollen or infected adenoids

Treatment for Ear Infections

Most ear infections are viral by nature, therefor antibiotics will not help the infection. If your doctor determines this is the case, they will suggest treatments to help manage the symptoms of the infection (such as NSAIDs for the pain) and likely instruct you to keep a close eye on the child and bring him or her back if symptoms don’t improve within a week or so. If the doctor suspects the infection is bacterial, they will prescribe a course of antibiotics. Often treatment is case dependant, and may begin with home remedies, managing medications and a watchful eye.

Potential Complications

Complications are rare in healthy children, however, it is possible for the mucus not to properly clear, leading to a condition known as ‘glue ear’, or for your child to have some hearing problems for a week or two after the infection is treated. Another potential complication is a perforated eardrum. These issues often resolve themselves within a few weeks. A more serious potential complication of ear infections occurs when the ear infection is left unmonitored and spreads to nearby places such as the brain or other nearby nerves or tissues. This can be life threatening, so if your child appears to get much sicker when they should be getting better, continues to have a fever or develops any new questionable symptoms, be sure to seek treatment for him or her immediately.

Can You Prevent Ear Infections?

Most of the time, yes, ear infections can be prevented by taking a few key precautions. Try not to allow your small child to put objects in their mouth or share toys. Keep them away from contagious children if possible. Preventing babies from drinking while lying down will ensure liquid doesn’t enter the ear canal where bacteria can grow. Studies show that children who use pacifiers or are exposed to second-hand smoke tend to get ear infections more frequently, so try to limit pacifier use and never let your children be around second-hand smoke. Lastly, keep your child up-to-date on their immunizations as to prevent undue illness that could lead to infections.

Thanks for visiting DocChat! If you suspect your child may have an ear infection, feel free to sign up today for a video conference with our emergency experienced, board certified doctors.


Wisdom Teeth Extraction – What To Expect

Has your dentist recommended you have your wisdom teeth removed? You’re not alone, approximately 5 million Americans undergo the surgical removal of one or more wisdom teeth annually. These teeth commonly begin to grow or become problematic between the late teens and early twenties. So what can you expect from the procedure? What post-procedure complications may arise? What kind of post-care is necessary to help ensure a smooth recovery? Let’s take a look!

Why Do We Need To Lose These Teeth?

Common reasons for wisdom teeth removal are:

  • An impacted tooth (one that is partially trapped in the gums or blocked by another tooth and can’t fully erupt through). This can lead to infections as food can get trapped in the gums around partially showing wisdom tooth.
  • Wisdom teeth that are growing crooked or growing into another tooth need to be removed
  • Or teeth that are crowding the mouth and misaligning their ivory neighbors.

A dentist may also recommend wisdom tooth extraction as a preventative measure for a person suffering autoimmune issues, or those with gum conditions such as periodontitis who may have higher risk of experiencing infections or complications down the line if wisdom teeth remain.

How Will the Procedure Go Down?

Your dentist or oral surgeon will administer one of the following methods of sedation:

  1. Nitrous oxide (also known as ‘laughing gas’) via face-mask plus local anesthetic.
  2. Conscious sedation is a method whereby an IV containing various calmative medications which will partially sedate you but you will remain consciously oblivious throughout the procedure.
  3. General anesthetic – this method is not as commonly used for wisdom teeth extraction as it comes with more potential risks and side effects than the other two, but in some cases the person will be ‘put under’ using general anesthetic for their surgery.

Your surgeon will then proceed to open up the gums surrounded the target teeth, exposing the tooth and bone beneath. He or she will then divide the teeth into sections and remove them, finishing the procedure by cleaning out the site and stitching the area closed to heal.

What Post-Surgical Complications Can Arise?

Potential post-surgical risks of wisdom tooth extraction include:

  1. An infection may occur in the extraction site, marked by a white or yellow discharge, temperature and pain and swelling.
  2. Dry socket – happens when the blood clot that is forming to help protect and heal the site becomes dislodged, leaving the bone exposed. This condition can be very painful, sometimes causing throbbing up the jaw or even around the ear, it can also cause a bad taste or smell to emanate from the mouth.
  3. Nerve problems – a rare complication of wisdom tooth extraction is temporary or permanent nerve damage that may cause such symptoms as facial pain, tingling or numbness.
  4. Pieces of tooth left behind – in rare instances, a small piece of tooth may have been left in the extraction site. Sometimes these small parts work themselves out without problems, but sometimes a dentist may need to reopen the stitches and remove a leftover piece of tooth.
  5. Healing problems for those with health issues – people with chronic health or immunocompromising conditions may heal much slower with more pain, swelling or bleeding than others.

What is Recovery Like?

Everyone is different, so wisdom tooth extraction recovery is not one-size-fits-all, but most people will experience some degree of pain, swelling, bruising and minor bleeding in the days following the surgery. To learn more about what to watch out for, when to see the doctor, tips to help recovery and good foods to eat following your surgery, stay posted for our next blog “Tips to Help Ease Wisdom Teeth Extraction Recovery’. Thanks for visiting DocChat!

8 Surprising Minor Causes of Belly Button Pain

What?! Your belly button hurts? That’s weird…not! There are a number of reasons for navel pain, some perfectly harmless and others which are quite serious. It is a good idea to know some of the symptom differences so you will generally know when to seek medical attention (but please note, everyone is different – medical information isn’t always one-size-fits-all advice, only you know your body so when it doubt, check it out)! Now let’s take a look at some of the surprising reasons for minor navel pain.

Minor Causes of Belly Button Pain

Is your actual belly button paining, or the area surrounding it? How severe is the pain? Is it intermittent? Different pains can mean different things. Some potential causes include:

  1. Bacterial infection – If the discomfort is coming specifically from that strange little cavern and not the surrounding area you may want to look for signs of a navel infection which may include a foul smell, buildup inside the navel, or discomfort and redness on the skin. There are several different types of bacteria living in the bellybutton that can become problematic.
  2. Yeast infection – yeast loves damp, hidden areas of the body. Yeast can easily overpopulate in the bellybutton leading to chapped, red and itchy skin or even pustules around the area.
  3. Chronic skin condition – skin problems such as psoriasis or eczema can cause belly button discomfort, including chapped skin, redness, pain and itching.
  4. Bloating or distention – a common and minor cause of belly button pain may include overeating which can lead to some pretty noteworthy bloating, temporarily causing discomfort in the middle of the stomach.
  5. Urinary tract infection (UTI) – Along with burning and painful urination, UTIs can also cause belly button pain that feels like a string of pain from the navel to the pubic region. UTIs can be minor, but they can also be very serious if left untreated.
  6. Urachal cyst – These very unpleasant cysts occur between the umbilical region and the bladder, they can cause such symptoms as bladder infections, navel pain or even navel discharge.
  7. Trapped gas – another common and minor cause of belly button pain is trapped gas. This can be an extremely painful experience even though it is not a serious one.
  8. Pregnancy – often pregnant women will experience navel pain or tenderness as the stomach expands and everything shifts and grows. Normally this is minor and harmless, but sometimes if the pain is very bad or persistent, it may be a sign of fetus distress and should be checked on.

So there you have some of the minor causes of navel discomfort, next we will look at more serious causes of mid-abdominal pain to watch out for. Thanks for visiting DocChat! If you have any questions or concerns about any of these symptoms or conditions, don’t hesitate to try a video consultation with one of our board certified DocChat physicians today!





Yeast – Not Just A “Downstairs” Problem

When many people hear the term “yeast infection” they automatically associate it with vaginal yeast infections in women, but in actuality the term can encompass a variety of different types of yeast infections involving nearly any part of the body. It can refer to skin infections, oral yeast infections, types of diaper rash, systemic (whole body) yeast infections or genital yeast (which can involve either gender). There are over 20 different types of candida that can cause different infections.

Why Does Yeast Become a Problem?

The human body is rife with bacteria, fungi and other microorganisms, most of which are good little guys who help keep our systems functioning properly, but others are harmful when they replicate uncontrollably, causing infections and other complications. One such type of microorganism is the candida fungus, which causes different forms of yeast infections when it overgrows. Things such as medications (antibiotics for example), dampness of the skin, tight clothing or infrequent clothing changes, a compromised immune system, irritation (such as from soaps or chemicals) or a disruption of bacteria and fungi from sexual activity can cause yeast infections.

Candidiasis of the Skin

Cutaneous candidiasis is the medical term for yeast infections of the skin. They often occur on parts of the body with damp or sweaty clandestine environments which encourage the candidiasis fungi to flourish, such as under the armpits, in the groin, or in between skin folds elsewhere on the body. The main symptom of cutaneous candidiasis is a very itchy red rash. Diaper rash is often caused by candidiasis infections as well. To treat cutaneous candidiasis, doctors often prescribe an anti-fungal cream or powder. Doctors also recommend to increase hygiene by washing the areas frequently with soap and water and trying to keep them dry.

Oral Thrush

Thrush, or oropharyngeal candidiasis, refers to an overgrowth of candida fungi in the mouth and throat. This overgrowth causes white patches on the tongue and throat, soreness and redness, cracked corners of the mouth and trouble swallowing. These infections can be caused by certain medications (such as asthma puffers if the mouth isn’t rinsed afterward), occasionally breastfeeding can cause thrush in newborn babies, the elderly and immunocompromised are also at greater risk of contracting oral thrush. Studies illustrate that chlorhexidine (CHX) mouthwash can help or help prevent oral thrush, doctors sometimes prescribe certain medications to help with the condition as well. Good oral hygiene can also help prevent thrush.

Invasive Candidiasis

Invasive (or systemic) candidiasis is a more serious yeast infection that can affect the blood, organs and multiple parts of the body. This infection can cause fever and chills, and usually effects people who already have a chronic illness or multiple illnesses such as diabetes, kidney disease or AIDS. Different anti-fungal medications may be administered via tablets or IVs depending on the severity of the case.

Genital Candidiasis


Perhaps the most common and widely known form of yeast infection is the genital (or ‘vaginal’) infection. It is much more prevalent in women, afflicting up to 75% of all women at some point in time, many of whom experience recurrent infections. Vaginal yeast infections can cause very unpleasant symptoms such as redness, soreness, itching, burning and abnormal discharge. Men can also get yeast infections that can be quite unpleasant, sometimes yeast infections can be passed back and forth between partners unknowingly. They can be cured with antifungal cream, tablets or vaginal suppositories.

Thanks for visiting DocChat! If you have any questions about yeast infection treatments or symptoms feel free to sign up today for a video conference with one of our board certified, highly qualified physicians.


Antibiotic Resistance – No More Drugs For A Cold!

Have you ever been annoyed when you walked into a doctor’s office expecting a prescription for the terrible cold that has been plaguing you for over a week, only to be denied? Well like it or not, your doctor was absolutely right to deny you antibiotics for your cold. Antibiotics do nothing to help common cold viruses and should be reserved only for bacterial infections. Overprescribing medications is one of the leading causes of antibacterial and antimicrobial resistance.

What is Antibiotic and Antimicrobial Resistance?

Bacteria and other microbes such as fungi and viruses exist everywhere and are constantly multiplying. They live on our skin, inside our bodies and all over our surroundings, but many of them are harmless or even helpful. The problem with antibiotic treatments is that they annihilate not only the troublesome bacteria in your system, but the beneficial bacteria as well. There are always a few bacteria left behind that don’t get killed by the drugs which then multiply and spread through our environment from the resistant person to others, contaminated surface to person, or meat-product to person which creates widespread resistance to said bacteria.

How Do Prescriptions Contribute to Resistance?

Doctors worldwide have been aggressively prescribing antibiotics since the 1940’s. Because of such prolonged and widespread use, certain bacteria have become resistant to almost all strains of antibiotics, rendering the drugs ineffective for various infections (such as MRSA). According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) over 50% of the antibiotics being prescribed are either not necessary, prescribed at too high a dosage, or for too long of a duration. Because of this, over 2 000 000 people contract antibiotic-resistant infections each year, causing almost 23 000 annual fatalities.

Why Do Doctors Overprescribe  Antibiotics?

Some doctors give antibiotics for viral infections by mistake, but others cave under the pressure of their patients demanding prescriptions for colds because they don’t want to leave empty handed. Years ago many doctors thought antibiotics were harmless enough placations for patients’ cold complaints, but unfortunately this mollification has only led to more people contracting antibiotic resistant infections. It is irresponsible for today’s doctors to give into this pressure, as they know full well that the dangers of unnecessary antibiotics include not only promotion of resistant bacteria, but also potential adverse side effects such as a vulnerability to C. Difficile, a resistant intestinal infection that can cause fatal diarrhea. Luckily, most doctors see the bigger picture and are beginning to be more discerning with antibiotics.

The Role of Food Animals and Resistance

Another big contributing factor to antibiotic resistance is the use of antibiotics in food-animals for curing infections contracted from poor slaughterhouse conditions. The use of antibiotics in food animals is the primary cause of resistance to certain germs such as salmonella in humans, therefor it is integral that antibiotics are only used to treat infections in animals when absolutely necessary, and are never used for growth or disease prevention purposes.

How Can We Combat Antibiotic Resistance?

As long as there are antibiotics, bacteria will find a way to become resistant, but there are some measures we can take individually and as a society:

  • Only use antibiotics when absolutely necessary, always check what type of infection you have before cashing in your prescription
  • Prevent infection by washing your hands thoroughly and often, carefully handling meat products and getting necessary immunizations
  • The implementation of antibiotic stewardship in hospitals and clinics – appropriate use of antibiotics (only when absolutely necessary)
  • Promoting and spreading public awareness about antimicrobial resistance
  • Medical scientists must keep working to create new antibiotics as old ones become resistant







Cold Prevention – Tips And Tidbits (Part 1)

Young businesswoman with a seasonal cold and flu


A sick person can sneeze literally millions of virus particles into the air, which can make cold prevention pretty tricky. But luckily there are things we can do to minimize our chances of getting sick during cold and flu season.

Steer Clear Of Obvious Carriers

Adults catch 2-3 colds on average annually, but perhaps those numbers could be decreased a little if we all took more preventative measures. If you work in an office or another public environment, be sure to wash your hands (for about 20 seconds) several times throughout the day, especially before eating or touching your face. If you succumb to the germy habit of nail-biting, stop now. We all know to steer clear of those who are coughing and sneezing, but many people don’t realize just how easily viruses are transmitted. About 80% of contagious illnesses are spread through person-to-person contact. A gesture as simple as a handshake or high five with an infected person can gain you a cold. Even touching an infected surface and touching your face can do the job.

Cold Carrier Etiquette

If you are sick with the common cold, you should stay at home to rest up while it is in full swing until you can better control those coughs and sneezes. When you do go to work, clean and sterilize surfaces frequently and wash your hands or use hand sanitizer frequently, especially after touching your face, or if you must make contact with another person. When at home, be sure to throw out contaminated tissues directly after use. This may seem like a weird tip but tissues left lying around will create a germ free-for-all, putting your family members at greater risk of catching your bug.

General Lifestyle Tips

Exercise, diet, and sleep also have bearing on the common cold, just as they do with almost any illness. It is always a good idea to maintain a healthy lifestyle including getting routine exercise and making sure you are getting enough sleep and rest. Diet is also an important factor, there are various vitamin and mineral rich foods you should be adding to your plate such as leafy green veggies and vitamin rich fruit. A tip-top system will be better at staving off infectious intruders.

Kids And Colds

Young kids are the most frequent catchers of colds, racking up approximately 6-10 a year! According to Pulsus, “Young children have more colds than older children and adults because they haven’t built up immunity (defenses) to the more than 100 different cold viruses that are around.” Young children also catch more colds than adolescents or adults because of such close proximity to their little peers in elementary schools paired with the fact that young children simply aren’t that concerned about preventative hygiene.

Teaching Children Preventative Habits

It is no secret that children are usually the culprits in contracting and spreading the family cold, but there are measures you can take to keep your child (and your family) safer against viruses. Many children don’t wash their hands correctly – or even at all after using the bathroom or getting them dirty. It’s important to instill proper hygiene habits in our little ones, such as how to wash their hands with soap under warm water for about the time it takes to sing 2 run-throughs of the happy birthday song in their heads. We can also stress to them the importance of removing themselves from a group of other kids if they have to cough or sneeze, or if one of the kids in the group is openly coughing and sneezing.

Educate Little Ones About Major Germ Hiding Places

According to WebMD, “A 2005 study of germs in schools found that classroom water fountain spigots and plastic cafeteria trays were the germiest spots in school. The spigot had 2,700,000 and the tray 33,800 bacteria per square inch, compared with 3,200 on the restroom toilet seat.” This statistic illustrates just how important it is to educate our little ones about taking precautions in very germy areas such as fountains. Try filling up a water bottle for the child to cut down on exposure to such places.

Thanks for visiting DocChat for our cold prevention tips. For suggestions on what to do when you can’t prevent a cold, be sure to check back tomorrow for cold management tips and tidbits!