Ways of facing colds and flu

2016-06-01 06:00

AS South Africa braces itself for another onslaught of cold and flu infections this winter, parents with children under the age of 12 face the biggest risk.

So says leading colds and flu generic medicine provider, Pharma Dynamics.

According to Mariska van Aswegen, spokesperson for Pharma Dynamics, parents fall ill almost twice as much as anyone else.

“Young children are a reservoir of germs and if they are at crèche, school or any place else where they are around other children, they are in a super-virus environment, which makes them the perfect vectors for illness and for passing viruses around.

“Kids hug, touch and cough all over each other. They chew on toys and as a result share their saliva, and then parents hug, kiss and cuddle them. It’s no wonder that the average parent catches a cold more than people without children,” she says.

A recent study conducted by the University of Utah’s School of Medicine confirms this notion.

They found that families with two, three or four children have some type of virus present in their household about 60% of the time, whereas childless households were only infected with viruses three to four weeks of the year.

Each additional child in a household increased a family member’s risk of falling ill. Households with one child tested positive about 18 weeks of the year, while families with more than four children tested positive about 45 weeks of the year – that is a whopping 87% of the time.

Van Aswegen adds that parents who live with small children are 1,5 times more likely to be sick since children under the age of five tend to have at least one virus present in their mucus 50% of the time.

“As we enter another cold and flu season it is imperative that those at risk, especially parents of younger children, give their immune systems a boost, whilst adequately protecting themselves from sources of cross-infection. But it is difficult for a parent with little ones to take off him- or herself, since they have to take care of everyone else.

“I often get asked whether there is any sense in trying to stop the spread of infection by wearing a mask for example, but the best and most practical way of protecting yourself (and your family), is to practise proper handwashing techniques and to do so often.

“This could reduce the chances of catching your child’s cold by 30% to 50%.

“Another way is to stay out of waiting rooms in doctors’ offices, emergency rooms and shops, and to avoid public transport as much as possible. Also use your discretion about your own situation. If you are pregnant and have had several bouts of flu or have a new-born, you may actually want to wear a mask.

“Besides eating your greens, getting enough sleep is another critical factor in fighting off colds and flu. Research tells us that people who sleep six hours or less a night are four times more likely to catch a cold when exposed to a virus, compared to those who get in more than seven hours a night.

“Most parents probably don’t get enough sleep, but it’s vital to our wellbeing, so try to carefully plan your day to ensure enough time is spent in slumberland,” she advises.

Van Aswegen says keeping a clean and dust-free house is equally important.

“It might also be worth getting an air filter to clean and purify the air in your home, especially if you’ve experienced wave after wave of illness in your household.

“In truth, there is no cure for the common cold or flu, but parents may benefit from supplements that can boost their immune system.

“Look for those containing vitamin C, zinc and Echinacea, which when used in combination are excellent at combating colds and flu, such as Efferflu C Immune Booster.
Meropa Communication

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