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Your handy guide to avoiding winter bugs

I’d like to talk about something very close to my heart. Specifically, my lungs.

I’d like to talk about something very close to my heart. Specifically, my lungs.

It’s winter, which means most of you have struggled with some symptom of the season, be it the common cold, the common flu, the common fever, the common Guillan-Barre syndrome, the uncommon cold, cabin fever, swine flu, disco fever, Jersey Cold Shore, SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) or HAPPY (Heat-Averse Pessimistic Period — Yearly).

I haven’t been sick at all, which is good news because it allows me to offer advice to the rest of you, starting with a heartfelt, “Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.” It’s also good news because I generally handle colds about as well as the guy with no face or limbs in that Metallica video.

Because I only want the best for my reader(s), here’s my guide to dealing with winter illness.

What is the common cold?
It’s the cold that commoners get. Royals get a different virus, which is why they always look tired and wave to crowds like they’re struggling with a degenerative muscle disease.

What can I do to prevent it?

Not much. Studies show that just about every purported cold remedy — zinc, vitamin C, hypospray — either does nothing or is just a Star Trek thing. That’s why people hate colds. The best ways to ward off a cold take work — exercise, eat vegetables, drink lots of non-alcholic drinks — and we think, “Geez, I’d rather get sick.”

Is there nothing we can do?
It’s best to avoid contact of all kinds, including eye contact. And remember not to touch anything that may have been touched by another person. An elevator button, for instance, is a virus-ridden glowing circle with all the killing potential of the Hal 9000. Also, avoid “practical joke” bathrooms that have no-touch flushes, water, soap and paper towel, but require you to pull on a clammy metal handle to get out.

What if human contact is necessary?
Fortunately, Health Canada’s recommended “sleeve sneeze” acts as a warning beacon, cautioning people to stay away by making any coat you are wearing a huge wearable Kleenex with mucous in the elbow folds. But if someone extends their hand, wash it. If someone asks for a hug, run. And never have children.

What are doctors saying?
A: In a recent survey of more than 200 Canadian MDs, most responded, 'Hack hack HWAAAGH ah-choo.' At least that’s what I think they said. It’s so hard to read their handwriting.

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