Winter Colds and Flu

Now that the colder months are setting in, it’s important to keep yourself healthy in order to prevent colds and flu.

Staying healthy means keeping warm, drinking lots of water and of course eating healthy foods, particularly fresh fruits and vegetables. Another way to stay healthy is to take a daily multivitamin, vitamin C and garlic tablets. Better still, use fresh garlic in your cooking!

A stuffy or runny nose, itchy throat and sneezing are the usual symptoms of a cold. Tiredness, fever, headache and major aches and pains probably mean you have the flu. Coughing can be a sign of either cold or flu.

If you are unlucky enough to catch a bug, make sure you visit your local GP and get the right treatment for it. If you leave infections unchecked, they can develop into nastier things like pneumonia (a horrible lung disease).

Stay out of the cold and get lots of rest, even when you start to feel better. It’s easy to overdo things while you’re recovering and plunge yourself back into illness.

To avoid getting a cold; wash your hands often, avoid people with colds when possible and when sneezing, do it into a tissue and then throw it away.

If you’re worried about flu, ask your doctor for a flu shot, as they can greatly lower your chances of getting sick this winter. Anyone who is a heavy drinker, has diabetes, or heart, lung, kidney and liver problems should definitely be immunised.

It’s also very important to look after your older friends and relatives at this time of year. If you are young and healthy, you might laugh about the flu. But for people over 50, catching flu can be very serious. Did you know that flu and pneumonia are the third biggest cause of death among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families? So make sure they get to their nearest Aboriginal medical service for immunisation before the cold sets in.

Immunisation consists of two injections, one in each arm. It only hurts a bit and it will protect you against flu for a year and diseases like pneumonia for five years. These needles are for adults only. But because flu is very contagious, healthy adults usually means healthier kids. If nobody gets the flu, nobody can pass it on!

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