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Trying to avoid the cold...

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By Jay Polk - bio | email

November 12, 2008

ALBANY, GA (WALB) -  It's that time of the year again.  The cold and flu season.

According to Dr. Doug Patten, the Senior Vice President for Medical Affairs at Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital: "it usually starts in October, November and it goes through the Spring."

And if you work in a big enough office, you're very likely to come into close contact with someone who is sick. And if they sneeze, those germs can go a long way.

"A span of 3 to 4 feet is not unrealistic," said Patten.

Most people, even those who work in tight office spaces at least have their own computer and phone. If you don't have those things, your chances of catching a cold go up. Way up.

That's because it takes a while for cold and flu germs to die off.

"The virus particles can stay on there, potentially contagious, for days," said Patten.

So, what can you do to help reduce your chances of catching a cold?

"Certainly hand washing is extremely important," said Patten.

In the end, if you feel like you're getting a cold, you should listen to the doctor.

"Certainly, if you're getting sick from it, and you're running fevers and things like that. You should probably stay home and not put yourself into the public arena," he said.

You...and everyone around you...will be feeling better.

According to the Centers for Disease Control. People in the United States suffer one billion colds every year. That's about three colds for every person in the country.

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