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Nov 05, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- TIPS TO AVOID COLDS

St. Louis University researchers offer cold-fighting strategies that include washing hands after shaking and avoiding touching your nose and eyes. Dr. Mark Mengel, chairman of the Department of Community and Family Medicine at the School of Medicine, says colds are spread by a virus that rides on hands and other surfaces and thrives for up to three hours. His other tips include: Get enough sleep, eight to 10 hours a night, to beef up your cold-fighting defenses; stop smoking, a habit that destroys the cilia, little hair-like fibers that keep mucus from clogging the nose and lung lining; pass on buffet food others have dipped in twice.


U.S. experts urge parents to put a helmet on their child, scope out sled or ski routes to avoid crashes and take other steps to prevent winter sports injuries. The researchers at the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Columbus Ohio's Children's Research Institute also advise parents to avoid crowded areas, where smashups can occur; supervise their children's activities, and get medical help should an accident occur. "Examining injury patterns among five different winter activities -- skiing, snowboarding, sledding, ice hockey and ice skating -- we identified that the No. 1 injury is to the head and neck region," says study leader Dr. Gary Smith. "Many of the head and neck injuries we reviewed could have been avoided if the child was wearing a helmet."


Johns Hopkins specialists advise being a picky eater during the holiday activities that nearly always revolve around food. They say yielding to temptations offered at parties and dinners can be particularly dangerous for people with diabetes. Dr. Lawrence Cheskin says diabetics should not expect to have perfect glucose management during the holidays. However, they should monitor their glucose level and be reasonably careful about what and how much they eat. Food-centered celebrations also may set the stage for parents discovering their college-age children are developing eating disorders. Worried about the so-called "freshman 15," the extra pounds many gain during their first year in college, some students, especially women, become obsessed with weight. Such obsession can develop into anorexia or bulimia. "Dieting in young adults is the single biggest risk factor for an eating disorder," says psychologist Denise Supik. "If caught early, 50 percent of patients with an eating disorder are curable with treatment, and at least 75 percent improve significantly."


Harvard Health Publications' tips for a safe and healthy Thanksgiving include washing meat and produce, cooking food thoroughly and refrigerating it. The experts also advise: do not leave food at room temperature for more than two hours; split up large amounts of leftovers into small batches to be refrigerated or frozen; avoid overeating by waiting seven minutes -- the time it takes food to start satisfying appetite -- before deciding on seconds; ask guests to bring walking shoes and take a stroll between dinner and dessert to help you digest, decrease stress and burn off some calories. If you feel stressed, leave the room, place your hand beneath your navel to feel your breathing, breathe in, count to three, breathe out, count to three, for one minute. At the table, relax your facial muscles, jaw, shoulders, arms, hands, legs, ankles, sink into your chair and breathe slowly.


(Editors: For more information about COLDS, contact Nancy Solomon at (314) 977-8017. For CHILDREN, Pam Barber at (614) 722-4598. For EATING, John Lazarou at (410) 502-8902 or For THANKSGIVING, Christine Junge at

Copyright 2004 by United Press International.

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