If you're around someone with a cold, how can you avoid catching it? Leading ear, nose and throat surgeon and author Dr. Jordan Josephson has advice to minimize the possibility of spreading your germs.
I'm Lisa Birnbach. Here's a situation we all face and dread every cold and flu season. You're at work, or on a bus, or standing in line next to some guy who's sneezing and hacking, a walking germ machine. Or is he? How can you tell whether you're contagious? With us to explain is Dr. Jordan Josephson, an ear, nose and throat specialist, and author of Sinus Relief Now. I sit on planes a lot, and I figure I'm getting sick every time I get on a plane. Is that true?
Well, the bottom line is when you get on the plane, it's a very closed exhaust, and so people are breathing and they're sneezing and they're coughing. That air is being recirculated. So you're right, there are going to be germs on the plane. How do you deal with it? Well, irrigating when you get off the plane will wash the infections that you may have breathed into your nose away, so that will help you. Being at your best shape, as far as being well rested, eating right, staying well hydrated, will also help your nose drain and clear those infections before they get into your bloodstream.
Can you catch a cold from kissing the cheek of someone who has a cold?
You can catch a cold just from breathing the air that they're breathing, and you can only go so far. I think keeping yourself in the best state possible will help you and your body fight those infections, and should make you OK. If your kids are sick, and they come home on the first couple of days, what are you going to do, not go near your kids? I mean, you have to treat them and help them.
Yes, I quarantine them. When my kids are feeling crummy, all I want to do is hold them and let them sleep in my bed sometimes.
So there are risks and benefits to being around sick people. The more you're around different colds, the more your immunity can deal with them and the more resistant you'll be, and less likely to get a cold.
When one of your children is sick, it does seem like the cold or flu spreads, or strep throat spreads around the house like wildfire. Is there a way to keep your kids from not infecting one another?
Very hard, because it's in the air. But certainly during the first two or three days, you may want to tell the sick child, stay in bed, bundle up. The other kids are going to be in school, anyway, so there's going to be a decreased sensitivity, because they're not going to be around.
And when they are around, kiss and TLC is important, but let's leave little Johnny alone, let him rest. You guys go play in the other room. And I think that will do the trick, and as a parent, you really have to be there for that sick child.
If they share a room, if you have a kid sharing a room with the kid with a cold, move one of them out?
I would move one of them out. I mean, they're not going to be sleeping in the same bed, but you may want to use an air purifier. Certainly having both of them irrigate with saline spray, and children do irrigate with saline spray. They even irrigate with neti pots. I mean, this really is the age of four, five. I have kids at two-years-old using saline sprays, and you would be amazed at how excited they are about washing their nose out, and that's going to help them from catching the cold from their sibling.
There are wives tales about how you can be contagious, for example, kissing, shaking hands. Which is more dangerous?
Germs pass on your hands. I mean, virus could be on your hands, it could be on your clothing, they could be anywhere. They could be on your cheeks, they could be on your lips, especially if you're the one that's sick. Giving a child a kiss that's feeling sick, you're doing him more good than harm, and you're doing yourself more good by making him feel better and get better sooner.
Can you get a virus from a door handle from a bus? People now say there are germs in hotel bedspreads. I mean, are you going to get sick from all of that stuff?
Virus don't linger too often for a very long time. They're usually short, and their life span, as far as being out on a bedspread, I don't really think you have to worry there. But certainly, on buses, telephones, things that people are handling, constant--
Cash machines, money. Being around infections is actually good, because it helps your immunity respond, and makes you capable to combat when the big doses of infection come your way.
Now, I'm under the impression that 24 hours exactly after you've been on an antibiotic you are no longer contagious. I'm wondering if that's true.
There are no studies to support that 24 hours is the number. I would basically tell people listen, when you're feeling well enough to get out of bed and you're feeling a little bit better, that's the time that it's OK to go out into the crowd. But if you're feeling just run down and you want to get into bed, your body's telling you that you shouldn't be around other people.
Get into bed.
Right. Makes sense. Thanks, Dr. Josephson.
The body knows.
Yeah, it knows, knows more than I do. I'm Lisa Birnbach.
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