Winter Wellness

I live in southern Queensland in Australia, and it kind of feels like we are on borrowed time with the weather, like winter is going to hit with vengance very soon.  Does anyone else feel like that?  I’ve just spent the weekend in Townsville – so, of course, I didn’t feel my sense of impending cold there, however when we came home, I was expecting it to be colder, but it isn’t just yet.  But I know the cold of winter will be here very soon.
I’m not particularly fond of the extremes, spring and autumn kind of suit me best, but i do know, my peaches and cream complexion is much better suited to winter!
As the cold weather approaches, its a good time to think about winter wellness and what that means for your health.  The truth is that during these colder months, the exposure to the germs is unavoidable – its how we look after ourselves that matters.
My random thoughts on being ready to stay well for winter are as follows:
Handwashing – this is the simplest and most effective action you can take to stop the spread of infection.  Are you a fastidious handwasher?
Did you know that the average adult gets two to three colds per year and children eight to twelve per year**.  The difference is ultimately, the handwashing and the amount of germs children unknowingly share!
Handwashing is the single most important activity we can undertake to stop the spread of infection.
Stay home – Do yourself a favour and stay home from work and keep children away from other children when they are sick – you don’t want to be ‘that’ person who goes in looking dreadful and then proceeds to spread their infections around.
Influenza vaccination – Influenza is a virus that is more common in winter.  A common cold or (man-flu as it is also known) is not influenza.  See http://www.immunise.health.gov.au for the specifics.
If you are in one of the high-risk groups, the vaccination is funded for free (see below this blog).
Alternatively, you can choose to pay a small price for the vaccination via your GP or some community pharmacies.  Just as a conversation starter at your next dinner party, each year’s vaccine is different to the previous year.  It depends on what the Northern Hemisphere has experienced and it is formulated to cover those most recent strains. Discuss your risk vs benefits of having the vaccination with your GP.
I don’t have time to start the immunisation debate tonight – I will just say the evidence base of why immunisation is so crucial and wise is very well researched.  If you ever get sucked into someone’s claims, my only advice is – be careful of your source!!
The most reliable and science based information available can be found at www.immunise.health.gov.au
Pneumonia – This week is pneumonia awareness week.  Pneumonia is a complication of influenza and that’s the reason I wanted to write something about this significant issue.
Antibiotics will not fix every illness you have during winter – Most winter illnesses are viruses.  Which means they will typically be self-limiting (they go away on their own after a period of time) and require symptomatic treatment only.  In the case of viruses, antibiotics are not useful.
Fitness during winter – yes, those mornings can be tough, but just remember – summer bodies are made in winter!

Spread the message – we all know someone or lots of people who fit into one or more of the categories below – do the right thing and start a conversation with them about whether they have considered influenza vaccination.  Peer engagement is an awesome way to spread how important the message of good health is.

So there you have it, my thoughts on winter wellness.  I will be so organised with my winter woolies by the time the proper cold weather gets here, will you?

 

Image result for stay well this winter

Source:  www.norfolkslivingwell.org.uk

Featured Image Source – http://www.mapio.net

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High-Risk Groups – Source:  www.immunise.health.gov.au

**www.uptodate.com

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