As the flu season nears, Australians are being urged to prepare for quite possibly the worst season yet. Already 10,000 cases of the flu have been reported, with The World Health Organisation announcing one type of flu now considered to be one of the most dangerous worldwide in fact originated in Brisbane.
This finding was addressed quickly by experts and it can also be revealed the four-strain vaccination available this year will include the influenza B bug and hopefully lower the number of flu cases.
So, what are the sign at precautions can you take to ensure you stay healthy this winter?
- Get the Flu Vaccine
The annual influenza vaccine is the best protection against the flu which is available from most chemists and GP’s.
While there are some myths surrounding the flu vaccine, namely that it can give you the flu, they are often unfounded. The flu vaccine in Australia does not contain any live viruses, however it can mimic some symptoms of the flu.
- Rug up
Contrary to popular belief, most body heat is not lost through the head, but through whatever part of your body is most exposed to cold air, so keep as much of the body covered as possible
Several layers of thin clothes will retain heat better than one thick layer, so layer-up in winter, especially when going outside
The coldest time of day is just before dawn, so go to sleep with extra blankets, and warm layers of clothing or nightwear.
- Maintain Hygiene
Good hygiene is the first line of defence against a flu infection. This is because influenza is usually spread from person to person, or when people touch something that was recently contaminated with the virus and then touch their mouth or nose.
To prevent this, wash your hands regularly, particularly before you eat.
No matter what your line of work, you should ensure to wash your hands regularly and thoroughly.
You should also shower at least twice a day to ensure your skin stays clean and hydrated. The cooler weather does not mean that you don’t sweat, in fact you may even sweat more during winter.
- Keep a Balanced Diet and Exercise
Winter it is very important as there is drop in temperature and prevalence of infections.
To build your immunity and ward off the flu, it’s essential to eat a well-balanced and nutritional diet.
Fresh foods and vegetables are essential in order to boost immunity! Ensure you are drinking plenty of water as well to keep colds, coughs and other communicable diseases at bay.
- Get adequate sleep
Adults should be getting at least 7-9 hours of sleep a night. This is integral to healthy living and assisting your immune system to fight off a cold or the flu.
If you have trouble sleeping try avoiding screens before bed, creating a schedule and ensure your bedroom is a peaceful environment.
Should I Go to the Doctor for Flu Symptoms?
If you are concerned and displaying symptoms such as high fever, reduced fluid intake, irritability, shortness of breath or a deep barking cough, it is important to see your Doctor immediately.
The flu can lead to complications such as chest infection and pneumonia, particularly among the very young and elderly. If you are feeling very unwell, and you think you have the flu, it is wise to book an appointment with your regular GP to get checked. In urgent cases, when your GP is closed, book a home doctor visit.