You have a fever, runny nose, and can't get out of bed. It must be the flu, right? Not necessarily.
Tagged With flu
That sneeze in the elevator. The snot somebody wiped on that handrail an hour ago. Your coworker who won't stay home, breathing right next to you. Cold and flu viruses are everywhere. And if you're coming down with something, you're spreading them too.
As we head toward winter, health professionals and the public are anxious about another influenza season like 2017, when record numbers of Australians were diagnosed with flu.
The flu is usually a mild illness that leaves us out of action for a few days. But for some, especially the elderly and children, the flu can be much more severe. In fact, influenza kills more kids than the feared meningococcal infection.
This is the season when we send our kids off to school with shiny new backpacks, and every year, they bring home the same thing: The first round of back-to-school colds. In our house, with a two-year-old intent on drooling on everyone he touches and a six-year-old still perfecting her personal hygiene practices, pathogens are passed out like hugs, and it's only a matter of time before the whole family is sick.
From vitamin C and echinacea to warm clothes and antibacterial soap, there’s no shortage of ideas about how to prevent and manage colds and flu. Unfortunately, many of these are not based on solid scientific evidence. In fact, medical researchers are only starting to unravel the range of factors that affect our susceptibility to getting an infection. Now we have discovered that our body clock plays an important role – making us more prone to get infected at certain times of the day.
I'm at home rocking the summer cold from hell. Meanwhile, my partner is checking out a bunch of cool tech at CES in Vegas.
Suffice to say, I'm feeling a bit sorry for myself.
We're pretty good at being caretakers when we're in the country though. We've both played nurse while the other was excreting a whole manner of unholy bodily fluids.
When you or your child is sick and all you care about is relief, you'll perk up at any promise a pill bottle makes. But some of those packages hold no medicine at all, just homeopathic "remedies." Australians spend around $1.2 billion per year on non-prescription vitamins, herbal remedies and natural medicines. Their makers are legally allowed to lie to you and say these products can improve your health or provide relief to ailments, even though they absolutely definitely do not.
We all swear by something that we know probably doesn't work. Maybe it's vitamin C when everyone at work has a cold, or #bootea while we diet, or compression socks while we run. "Even if it doesn't work, what's the harm?" we tell ourselves. The truth is, it's not harmless, and we're only fooling ourselves.
Winter is coming, and that means that everyone is busy getting flu shots, pestering their grandmothers for home cold remedies and distancing themselves from anyone who shows so much as a sniffle. As it turns out, however, avoiding illness this winter could be far easier (and more disgusting) than you've been led to believe.