‘Cold & flu season’ bit of a misnomer

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Patty Burnaman | WWL First News

We are being told that it’s “cold and flu season,” but is there really such a thing?  

Dr. Fred Lopez, infectious disease specialist at LSU Health New Orleans, tells us it’s not so much the temperature, as it is what we do when it gets cold: we congregate in warm places. 

Dr. Lopez says that close proximity over longer periods with more people increases the likelihood of passing the viruses from one person to another.  

It can spread from a handshake; someone coughs into their hand, you shake hands, then touch your eyes, nose, or mouth, you can become infected.  Frequent washing of hands and decontaminating surfaces helps kill the viruses and lessens the chance of you becoming ill.

“Influenza or other viruses can live for several hours on your hands, or on a surface,” said Dr. Lopez. “If someone who is infected coughs into a room, you can breathe in the virus.”

And if you are sick, Dr. Lopez urges you to go ahead and call in – don’t go to work or school and spread it around.

“You don’t need to come to work to show everyone how hard a worker you are,” the doctor advises. “Stay home and stay away from others.”