Fighting the Cold War!
Every year we are faced with the dilemma when we have a cold or flu. Should I go to work or stay at home. If you go to work, not only do you feel miserable and your productivity levels rapidly decline, but you also place your workmates in danger by spreading germs and having them 'come down with the flu' as well.
On the other hand, if you don't have any 'sick days' left or your are not paid for the hours you don't work you are faced with the same awful choice .... do I go to work or stay at home.
Working Parents with Sick Children
The other dilemma faced by many working parents is what to do if your child is sick. Do you send them to school or childcare or do you take time off work to care for them .... Kids Cover Insurance is available to cover daycare fees. Costing between $61 and $90 a year, the Kids Cover is available to parents whose children are in full or part-time accredited care. Wy not ask your childcare centre for more information.
Do you suffer from 'Presenteeism'?
Presenteeism is when people who should be absent from work or school - because they're contagious or feeling so lousy they can't do their jobs - aren't. Feverish and coughing, employees show up at work with the flu and colds, potentially exposing colleagues. Sometimes, they don't have much of a choice.
What is the cost to the economy of colds and flu?
According to an article in the Sydney Morning Herald by Anne Fawcett "Every year, an estimated 2 to 4 million Australians suffer from influenza. Between two and four days after exposure to the virus, we develop symptoms including headaches, muscle soreness, fever, runny nose, fatigue and general malaise that can persist for weeks and make life miserable.
An Australian study conducted more than 10 years ago found that annual influenza was responsible for 1 million medical consultations, between 20,000 and 40,000 hospitalisations and 1500 deaths. It was also blamed for 1.5 million days off work. The economic cost was estimated at about $600 million, but that figure has undoubtedly increased."
What's the difference between a cold and the flu?
Many of the symptoms of a cold and flu are similar. A cold usually starting with a runny noze, and may include a dry or sore throat, heachache, sneezing, cough, hoarseness or rough voice.
A flu can have the same symptoms as a cold, usually starting with a sore throat. The flu is usually more severe and lasts for up to a week and will also have:
- high fever
- muscle aches & pains
What do I do if I have to go to work sick?
The flu (influenza) and colds are caused by viruses that infect the nose, throat, and lungs. The flu and colds usually spread from person to person when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
If you are sick and go to work, take care to:
- Cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough
- Cough or sneeze into a tissue and then throw it away
- Clean your hands often
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth
- Wipe and disenfect your work area
- Stay away from your workmates as much as possible
How can I avoid catching a cold or the flu?
It seems that the old saying, prevention is better than cure, may apply in the case of the flu. The best way to avoid the flu is to have an annual vaccination.
There are three major types of influenza virus - A, B and C. The annual vaccination typically contains two A strains and one B strain. C strains aren't included as these influenza strains cause milder disease, like an ordinary cold virus. The vaccine won't prevent against all strains of influenza, but evidence has shown that it appears that their immune systems, stimulated by the vaccine, are able to produce antibodies against some strains that aren't specifically targeted by the vaccine. In particular, if you are in the following categories you should have an annual flu vaccination:
- Over 65
- Adults and children with chronic heart, lung or kidney disease, or diabetes
- People on immunosuppressive treatments (including long term steroids)
- Residents in nursing homes and aged care facilities
Other steps that can be taken to avoid a cold or the flu include:
- Hygiene - Wash your hands frequently, particularly if people around you have symptoms of cold or flu
- Try to avoid crowded places as much as possible during ‘flu season’
- Drink plenty of water
- Good nutrition to keep your immune system strong. Eat a diet high in fresh fruit, vegetables and whole grains. This ensures that you get vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that are essential for a healthy immune system
- Eat adequate protein. This can be obtained from animal sources such as lean meat, chicken, fish, eggs and dairy foods or from plant sources such as legumes and soy products including tempeh and tofu
- Have lots of onions and garlic for their antimicrobial activity. Ginger and chilli are very warming foods and can be beneficial, particularly in the colder months
- Vitamin A is essential to proper immune function. It plays an important role in maintaining the mucous linings of the body, which help trap viruses and bacteria. It also enhances white blood cell function and increases antibody response. Vitamin A is a powerful antioxidant which helps protect the thymus gland, which is susceptible to free radical damage
- Zinc is involved in virtually every aspect of immunity. When zinc levels are low, a number of cell functions critical to the immune response cease. Studies have shown this effect is reversed by zinc supplementation. Zinc, like Vitamin C, also posesses an antiviral activity against several viruses that cause the common cold.
- Get plenty of sleep and make time for relaxation and enjoyable activities
- Engage in moderate exercise at least four times per week to improve immunity and aid the elimination of wastes through the circulatory and lymphatic systems
- Avoid processed foods – these are often lacking in essential nutrients
- Minimise or avoid the use of alcohol and caffeine – these filter many valuable nutrients from the body
- Stop smoking – smokers get more upper respiratory infections than non-smokers
To find out more, visit us at our pharmacy or Contact Us