Most secrets to good health aren’t secrets at all, but common sense. For example, you should avoid contact with bacteria and viruses at school and work. But a whole host of other feel-good solutions can help you live healthier while avoiding that runny nose, sore throat or pesky cough.

Vaccinate!

While there are many different flu viruses, a flu vaccine protects against the viruses that research suggests will be most common during the upcoming flu season. 1 Flu vaccination can reduce flu illnesses, doctors’ visits, and missed work and school due to flu, as well as prevent flu-related hospitalisations. 1

The Centre of Disease Control (CDC) recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone 6 months of age and older before flu activity begins in their community as the first and most important step in protecting against flu viruses. 1 Most doctors recommend getting the flu vaccine at the very start of flu season. However, you can still get the vaccine in late fall or winter. 2

Vaccination of high-risk persons is especially important to decrease their risk of severe flu illness.

The CDC recommends vaccination for: 1

  • People at high risk of serious flu complications like young children, pregnant women, people with certain chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes or heart and lung disease and people 65 years and older
  • Health care workers, and other people who live with or care for high risk people to keep from spreading flu to them
  • People who care for infants

Limit your contact with germs

Colds and flu spread when someone who’s sick sneezes or coughs, sending virus-filled droplets flying through the air. You can get sick if you touch a surface (such as a countertop or doorknob) that has recently been handled by an infected person and then touch your nose, mouth, or eyes. 2,3

Did you know that droplets can reach people and surfaces almost 2 meters away? You can be exposed by breathing air containing these droplets or by touching objects that these droplets have landed on.  3

Stay away from anyone who is sick. Don’t share utensils or any other personal items, such as a toothbrush or towel.  Sharing goes both ways — when you’re sick with a cold, stay home. 2, 4,

5 Additional tips to prevent a cold and/or the flu

  1. Practice good hygiene. Wash your hands often with hot water and soap to get rid of any germs you might have picked up during the day or use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser. Keep your hands away from your nose, eyes, and mouth. Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze, and always wash your hands afterwards. 2
  2. Green, leafy vegetables are rich in vitamins that help you maintain a balanced diet and support a healthy immune system. 4
  3. Take care of your gut. Eat plenty of bacteria-rich foods like yoghurt or take a daily probiotic supplement. A healthy gut can help your overall health. 5
  4. Following a regular exercise routine such as walking three times a week, it does more than keeping you fit and trim! Regular exercise also accelerates the circulation of disease-fighting white blood cells which helps the body fight the common cold. 4
  5. Alcohol can damage the body’s dendritic cells, a vital component of the immune system. An increase in alcohol consumption over time can increase a person’s exposure to bacterial and viral infections. 4

While there is no guaranteed way to avoid colds and flu, these small changes to your daily life can help reduce your chances of getting sick.

DISCLAIMER: This editorial has been commissioned and brought to you by iNova Pharmaceuticals. Content in this editorial is for general information only and is not intended to provide medical or other professional advice. For more information on your medical condition and treatment options, speak to your healthcare professional.

Name and business address of the holder of the certificate of registration: iNova Pharmaceuticals (Pty) Ltd,. Co. Reg. No. 1952/001640/07, 15e Riley Road, Bedfordview. Tel. No. 011 087 0000. www.inovapharma.co.za. For further information, speak to your healthcare professional. Further information is available on request from iNova Pharmaceuticals. IN3083/18

References:

  1. CDC Says ‘Take 3’ Actions to Fight the Flu. [online] December 2018 [cited April 2019]; Available from URL: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/preventing.htm
  2. Cold or Flu? How to Know Which One You Have. [online] April 2017 [cited February 2019]; Available from URL: https://www.healthline.com/health/cold-flu/cold-or-flu#takeaway
  3. Early Flu Symptoms. [online] April 2017 [cited February 2019]; Available from URL: https://www.healthline.com/health/cold-flu/early-flu-symptoms#prevention
  4. The Secrets to Never Getting Sick. [online] November 2017 [cited April 2018]; Available from URL: https://www.healthline.com/health/cold-flu/cold-flu-secrets#8
  5. Everything You Need to Know About the Common Cold. [online] November 2016 [cited April 2019]; Available from URL: https://www.healthline.com/health/cold-flu/cold#risks