Avoiding Flu and Sickness this Winter

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Winter is often a welcome change in many parts of Australia after the long and hot summers. It means significant drops in temperatures. There are several health conditions, which are specifically associated with the cool climate conditions during our coldest season.

Colds and flu are particularly common in winter. More than 200 viruses cause the common cold. Flu (influenza) is caused by a different group of viruses and is a far more severe health condition that can lead to death. As many as one in five Australians will come down with the influenza virus. We’ve prepared some tips to help protect you from those illnesses most associated with winter.

Antibiotics are not a suitable treatment for colds and flu because antibiotics target bacteria, not viruses.

Let’s look at how we can avoid them or minimise the risk of getting sick:

▪    get immunised and protect yourself from flu
▪    cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze
▪    throw tissues in the bin after you use them
▪    wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze
▪    use alcohol based hand sanitisers
▪    avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth as germs spread this way
▪    try to avoid close contact with people who have a flu-like illness.

Eat nutritious food  

Eating food high in nutritional value will feed your body the vitamins, rich carbohydrates and fats that give you the nourishment you need to recover more quickly. 
While, it may be tempting to eat more food in winter, it is better to eat a well-balanced diet throughout the year.

Drink plenty of water   

It’s also important to hydrate yourself by drinking plenty of water throughout the day. It’s easy to neglect hydration when the weather becomes cooler because we think our body doesn’t need any more water. Keeping your body well hydrated will help to keep your skin healthy, flush out toxins and ward off winter bugs.

Stay Active   

It’s common to feel less motivated during the winter months and even getting out of bed can sometimes feel like a chore. Try to get into a routine of getting out and doing some exercise, whether it is walking up the stairs instead of taking the lift or escalator. Swap your normal routine of driving or taking public transport by going for a daily walk.

Wash your hands   

You should wash your hands thoroughly:

▪    Before preparing food
▪    Before eating,
▪    Between handling raw and cooked or ready-to-eat food
▪    After going to the toilet or changing nappies
▪    After smoking
▪    After using a tissue or handkerchief
▪    After handling rubbish or working in the garden
▪    After handling animals
▪    After attending to sick children or other family members.

It’s normal for adults to have up to three or four colds per year, whereas young children can have up to 10. Colds are spread when an infected person sneezes or coughs and the germs are spread onto hands and surrounding surfaces. The infected person may sneeze into their hand then touch common objects such as door handles and taps without thoroughly washing their hands, spreading the cold virus. Avoiding a cold, or avoiding passing on a cold, is much the same as the flu. Don’t have contact with those who have a cold, wash your hands regularly and cover your nose and mouth.

If you have a flu-like symptoms you should:

• stay home from work or school
• limit contact with other people to keep from infecting them

No treatment will cure your cold, or make it go away more quickly, but if you get plenty of rest and stay hydrated you can expect to recover quicker.

Published on by Daniele L.