Cold & Flu Season:: Stacking The Odds In Your Favour
Cold and flu are a fact of life. No matter how careful you’ve been, every now and then some over-achieving speck of a bug will detect a weak spot in your defences and have you reaching for the tissues and cold'n'flu meds. While most of us will get away with a common cold or a mild dose of something gross, many are completely laid out. Weeks off work - and worse.
Here in the Southern Highlands, our winter climate is a drawcard for so many of us, but for others it means endless weeks or months of coughs, colds, asthma, sleepless nights and an overall flu-anxiety. So, is there anything we can do to avoid or, at the very least, give ourselves a fighting chance of making it through winter unscathed?
We certainly don’t plan on being all doom and gloom here! And don’t fret, The Fold aren’t moonlighting as Doogie Houser M.D. Like you, we can’t afford to get sick, and we sure don’t want our loved ones copping it, so we sought some solid, professional advice from Bowral Amcal Pharmacists, and long-time locals, Bhish and Dharmita - whose holistic approach ticks all of our boxes.
Prevention Advice – Help!! We don’t wanna get sick!!
Question:: Tell us more about the flu vaccination. What strains of flu does it cover and who should be getting it?
Bhish:: "The flu is a major cause of illness in our community and vaccination is the most important way we can prevent it spreading. It’s important to get the flu shot annually, as the virus changes each year. In 2019 there are two new strains included in the vaccine."
Dharmita:: "Many people think flu vaccines are just for the elderly but we recommend people of all ages consider vaccination, especially those whose immunity is compromised in any way. Many businesses are also paying for staff to be vaccinated, as a serious case of the flu means quite a bit of time off work."
Bhish:: "If you’re not over 65 or immunocompromised, we can administer the vaccine right here in the pharmacy. There are four of us that can do it – myself, Dharmita, Ryan and Julie – it's a quick and easy process. You can book online or come into the pharmacy and we can look after you. There are group discounts available too. If you're unsure, just come in and see us and we can answer any questions you may have."
Question:: Aside from the flu shot, what can you tell the good people of the Southern Highlands about preventing “The Flu” that we may not already know?
Dharmita:: “Prevention is always better than cure! Don’t wait to get sick, an immune booster may be all you need to make it through the season. The prediction at the moment is for a later start to the Flu Season, come in and see us now before symptoms begin.”
Bhish:: “There are some fantastic products on the market today specifically designed to boost immunity. Taking care of yourself and maintaining good health during winter are so important.”
Dharmita:: “Maintaining hygiene is also very important. Cold and Flu is spread via droplets. Cleaning hands and surfaces thoroughly and often, limits the spread of germs. This is harder to manage in kids but it’s a good habit to get into, particularly coming into flu season.”
Question:: We’ve been hearing a lot about probiotics lately. Can you tell us what they are and how they useful in the prevention of cold and flu?
Bhish:: “Probiotics are live microorganisms, or ‘good bacteria’ that support your body’s gut and overall immune function. There’s significant research to suggest that using a probiotic supplement can increase your body’s defence system in fighting of viruses such as cold and flu.”
Dharmita:: “It’s important to know that some probiotics are better for specific conditions than others. For example, there are probiotics that are designed to assist in areas of health such as anxiety and depression, women’s health and skin conditions as well as overall immune function.”
Symptom Management – Oh, man! I think I’m getting sick. Now what?!
Question:: Despite precautions, many of us will still get sick. Big thumbs down. What advice do you have for Highlanders who feel the beginnings of a cold, or see it in their loved ones? In other words, how do we stop this bad boy in its tracks?!
Dharmita:: “My advice would, without doubt be, don’t ignore your symptoms! It may well turn out to be nothing but seeking professional advice is the right thing to do. Not all illnesses require antibiotics or antivirals, but if they do, don’t be afraid to medicate. Too often we see people, especially men, ignore symptoms until they become very unwell and require a trip to hospital.”
Question:: Are you referring to the dreaded “Man Flu”?
Dharmita:: “We take man flu very seriously here! Male tradies are the worst for ignoring their symptoms. I’ve personally seen big, tough men become terribly unwell because they push on despite illness. Treat your initial symptoms would be our advice to every member of the family.”
Question:: Do you have any specific advice for Southern Highlands families with children?
Bhish:: “Look out for warning signs in children. Bring them in for a consult early on. As Dharmita said, treating initial symptoms is the key.”
Dharmita “Nip it in the bud, so to speak. Sometimes an antihistamine early on can stop things progressing further.”
Question:: How important are the things we’re told to focus on, like rest and fluids?
Dharmita:: “During winter we sweat less and so we drink less water but staying hydrated during the cold and flu season is so important. If we get sick we can become dehydrated very quickly as we are losing fluids every time we cough and blow our nose.”
Bhish:: “Kids and the elderly become dehydrated quickly. Some form of electrolyte replacement is often a good idea. Consider the use of a dehumidifier to moisten the air. As for rest, when you limit movement your body has more energy to fight off illness. Being still also helps you to maintain a stable body temperature.”
Question:: So, should we still be taking Vitamin C and using good, old fashioned cold and flu remedies?
Dharmita:: “Yes. Traditional, age-old remedies such as Vitamin C, Zinc, Horseradish and Echinacea are still recommended. Using these in combination with Chinese herbal medicine and other more modern approaches have seen positive results.”
Bhish:: “Come in and talk to us. The Amcal motto of “Trust Advice Care” is what we offer the Southern Highlands community. We believe in offering a holistic approach to health. We stock a wide range of ‘practitioner only’ supplements as well as common symptomatic medications. Everybody is different, and illness presents differently in everyone. What works for your neighbour may not be right for you. Always, seek professional healthcare advice.”
Dharmita:: “You don’t have to wait until you feel sick to come and see us. We like seeing healthy people too!”
OK, so the message we are receiving is pretty loud and clear here, Highlanders – start taking precautions now to avoid the brunt of the cold and flu season and, if those pesky symptoms do appear, stop them in their tracks with a visit to your doctor or pharmacist.
You can make an appointment to go in and have a chat with Amcal's Pharmacists by calling 4861 1875.
You can always pop in for a chat however, making an appointment means you will have their undivided attention – and we could all use a bit more of in life, right?!
boring important disclaimer bit you need to read! This blog post has been created for information purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice and should not be relied on as health or personal advice. That means - go and seek medical advice! Always seek the guidance of your doctor or other qualified health professional with any questions you may have regarding your health or a medical condition. Never disregard their advice or delay going to seem them because of something you have read in this blog.