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MORE THAN HALF THE U.S. NOW BEING BIT BY WORST COLDS AND FLU IN ELEVEN YEARS -- COLD-PROOFING STRATEGIES CAN OFFER PROTECTION

 LIBERTY CORNER, N.J., Jan. 11 /PRNewswire/ -- This week nearly 127 million Americans are experiencing the misery of the worst colds and flu recorded in more than a decade. According to the AFRIN(R) Cold Front Warning System, a tool measuring the geographic sweep and severity of the common cold, 70 major cities and counties across the country are on cold "alert" status. This means that approximately 3 out of 4 households in these areas will have someone suffering from, or about to get, a cold.
 A list of cities on alert to follow.
 "With cities all over the country at risk for developing severe colds, it's essential to know about easy, practical ways to avoid catching them, as well as what to do if you have a cold," says Harlan Joe Smith, P.D., a pharmacist in Falls Church, Va., and first vice president of the National Association of Retail Druggists, an organization representing 40,000 independent U.S. pharmacies. "People who take steps to cold-proof themselves, their families, their homes and offices, can help cut down on colds and their severity."
 Here are 10 cold-proofing strategies to help you manage during this cold season:
 1. Maintain a healthy lifestyle. Get enough sleep and eat a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, as well as protein foods. You should also drink plenty of liquids.
 2. Wash your hands frequently. Cold viruses are passed from person to person by contact. If someone who has a cold shakes your hand, uses the same phone or touches a doorknob, you can be exposed to cold viruses. Washing your hands with warm water and soap helps to remove the viruses and greatly reduces the chances that you'll catch the cold.
 3. Be prepared to treat cold symptoms at a moment's notice. Keep a Cold Control Center at home and in the office. Nasal spray, tissues, non-prescription pain reliever, cough lozenges, bouillon cubes or dehydrated soup can relieve the uncomfortable symptoms of a cold. Always read product labels so that you will be aware of potential side effects, and never share personal cold care items.
 4. Be alert if someone with a cold hands you something. Avoid touching your face, particularly your nose or eyes, as these are the key entry points for cold viruses, and wash your hands as soon as possible.
 5. Keep your home and office well ventilated. Open the windows for a few minutes or longer -- if possible -- every day. The circulation of fresh air helps reduce cold viruses.
 6. Set thermostats at 70 degrees Fahrenheit during the day, if possible, and 60 degrees Fahrenheit at night. Cooler air is less likely to carry cold viruses.
 7. Be extra-careful with dishes, towels and other items family members share. Use the sanitizing cycle on the dishwasher; launder with hot water; clean the shower, tub and bathroom fixtures with disinfectant cleaners.
 8. Use paper cups and towels. With paper goods, infection won't be passed by an unwashed item.
 9. Use a damp, soapy cloth or paper towel to clean your office and home items that are frequently handled. Items that your children touch or chew on are especially important. Be diplomatic, but if possible, discourage others at work from using your supplies or equipment during the cold season.
 10. If a friend or associate has a cold, consider postponing plans for a week or so. The typical cold runs its course in 5-7 days.
 The AFRIN Cold Front Warning System keeps track of how Americans are feeling in 70 major cities and counties across the country in order to project when and where serious outbreaks of the cold or flu are likely to occur next. The reports are based on weekly interviews with 1,680 medical personnel about the incidence and severity of colds and other respiratory illnesses reported by their patients.
 The Cold Front Warning System is sponsored by AFRIN, the best- selling and No. 1 nasal spray decongestant recommended by doctors and pharmacists. AFRIN and AFRIN Extra Moisturizing Nasal Spray provide fast-acting, long-lasting, non-drowsy relief of nasal congestion, enabling people who can't afford to be stopped by a cold to keep working through it.
 The figures and projections in The AFRIN Cold Front Warning System are gathered by EDN Corporation as part of their Flu/cold/respiratory illness Activity Notification (FAN) report. EDN has been conducting FAN research for five years and has developed National Severity Average models to establish Advisory, Pre-Alert, Alert and Peak categories.
 CITIES ON COLD ALERT
 Albany Greenville Omaha
 Albuquerque Hartford Orlando
 Anaheim Houston Philadelphia
 Atlanta Huntington Phoenix
 Baltimore Indianapolis Pittsburgh
 Birmingham Jackson Portland, ME
 Boise Jacksonville Portland, OR
 Boston Kansas City Richmond
 Buffalo Las Vegas Riverside
 Burlington Little Rock Rochester
 Casper Los Angeles Sacramento
 Charlotte Louisville Salt Lake City
 Chicago Manchester San Antonio
 Cincinnati Memphis San Diego
 Cleveland Miami San Francisco
 Columbus Milwaukee San Jose
 Dallas Minneapolis Seattle
 Dayton Nashville Sioux Falls
 Denver Nassau/Suffolk St. Louis
 Detroit New Orleans Tampa
 Fargo New York Washington
 Ft. Lauderdale Newark West Palm Beach
 Great Falls Norfolk
 Greensboro Oklahoma City
 -0- 1/11/94
 /CONTACT: Carole Imperiale of Schering-Plough HealthCare, 908-604-1836, or Susan Lichtendorf of Ruder Finn, Inc., 212-715-1585/
 (SGP)


CO: Schering-Plough HealthCare ST: New Jersey IN: HEA SU:

LD -- NY001 -- 0854 01/11/94 09:01 EST
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Date:Jan 11, 1994
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