Preventing Cold & Flu: How Doctors Keep Germs at Bay
Doctors give their top tips for avoiding nasty cold and flu germs.
Over-the-counter medications for colds and flus
Our docs agree: When they’re feeling really awful, they turn to
over-the-counter pain relievers. “The thing that I take most regularly is
Tylenol, aspirin, or Advil,” Schachter says. “It’s that sick feeling -- that
achy, blah feeling you have when you get sick -- that really bothers me.”
While cold and flu remedies can ease the most severe symptoms, many doctors
say they avoid overmedicating themselves. “I don’t like the feeling of taking a
lot of medication, where my head feels fuzzy,” Hughes says.
When she feels sick enough to need a cold remedy, Bothwell buys them
individually, taking acetaminophen for a fever and a cough suppressant for a
cough, instead of a multisymptom cold and flu medication. Bothwell also chooses
generics over the brand-name varieties. “One of my pet peeves is spending so
much money on these cold preparations,” she says. “Sometimes those combination
drugs give you a lot more medicine than you need, and they’re more
Because doctors can’t afford to use sick days, staying healthy is essential.
“I think I’ve taken two or three days in the last 10 to 15 years,” says
Schachter. “With the kind of job I have, it’s hard for me to stay home.”
Prevention is the key. Our experts all say a flu shot is essential and they
advise staying in the best possible health year-round. “Do the basics -- eat
right, sleep right, exercise, and wash your hands,” Richter says. “I work in a
pretty high-risk profession, and I rarely get sick because I do those