FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA) — Flu season is here, and the common cold has similar symptoms as the influenza virus, so plenty of people are likely to feel under the weather, along with coughing, sneezing and runny noses. If you do have a runny nose or crusty boogers in your nose, blow it out don’t “pick it out!”
Keeping your fingers out of your nose is recommended. “Nose-picking could be leaving the door open for dangerous bacteria,” said New York City-based gastroenterologist Dr. Niket Sonpal. “Picking your nose could be a problem is you have a weak immune system. Your fingernails cause tiny abrasions in your nasal cavity and create openings in your skin … leaving the door open for dangerous bacteria.” This, in turn, could cause Staphylococcus aureus, also known as staph.
According to the Centers for Disease Control staph is a type of germ that can be carried in the nose.
As for getting the flu, or a cold, it can be difficult to tell the difference between them. According to the CDC, “in general, flu symptoms are worse than the common cold and can include fever or feeling feverish/chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches and tiredness.
Arkansas Department of Health Director for Immunizations and Outbreak Dr. Jennifer Dillaha recommends getting a flu shot, but, “it is still possible to get the shot and get the flu later.”
Last flu season, which started in September, 113 people died of flu-related causes in Arkansas, including two children, according to Dillaha.
Flu season can vary in its peaks. “In 2017 the flu started early, there was a lot of flu in the fall. In 2018, it was late, all the flu was in the late spring,” said Dillaha.
Overall, flu cases can happen all year long with children being the main “spreaders” of influenza. “That’s why it peaks in wintertime — when school is in session,” said Dillaha.
Habits to stay healthy:
- Throw away your tissues and dispose of them properly
- Don’t go to school, work, or out in public if you’re sick
- Stay home, rest and drink plenty of water
- Wash your hands often
Remember people who are most likely to get the flu are pregnant women, people with chronic health problems such as diabetes, according to Dillaha.