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Top tips for winter wellness and avoiding the flu

1 August 2018

Dr Penny Hutchinson.

The typical flu season peak from late August to early September is fast approaching, prompting a call for people across the region to be proactive about their health now to increase their chances of staying well.

Darling Downs Public Health Unit Director Dr Penny Hutchinson said everyone is susceptible to the flu and while some people may think they will be fine, influenza can become a very serious illness.

"There are a few simple steps you can take to protect yourself and avoid the misery of being laid up with the flu or having your case progress into something more severe," she said.

Dr Hutchinson’s top tips for winter wellness (and avoiding the flu) are:

1. Get vaccinated: the influenza vaccination is your best protection against getting the flu. It is not too late to get an influenza vaccination – see your GP or pharmacy to organise a jab

2. Remember to hydrate: in winter we tend to be less thirsty, but it is still very important to keep fluids up – aim to drink one to two litres per day

3. Get enough fruit and veg: eating a nutrient rich diet can help to boost your immunity

4. Get some exercise: studies show people who engage in regular, moderate exercise have increased immunity

5. Rest up: getting a good night’s sleep is also a known immunity booster.

If you think that, despite your best efforts, you have picked up a case of the flu, it is important to look after yourself and protect others from catching your bug.

Dr Hutchinson recommends:

6. Self-care: rest at home, take treatments to relieve symptoms and keep up your fluids. If there is a worsening of your symptoms or you are not getting better, phone 13 HEALTH, see your doctor, or in an emergency dial 000

7. Help stop the spread of the virus:

  • Stay at home if you have influenza symptoms
  • Use a tissue – your hands a very good at spreading viruses onto surfaces and other people. Make sure when you cough or sneeze to use a tissue, dispose of the tissue in the bin and then wash your hands with soap and water (or if this is not available use an alcohol hand rub)
  • Wash your hands thoroughly – it takes at least 20 seconds to wash your hands properly.

Influenza symptoms can include fever, sore throat, dry cough, headache, muscle and joint pain, and tiredness or extreme exhaustion. In elderly people, the only symptoms of flu may be confusion, shortness of breath, and / or worsening of a chronic condition.

For more information about the flu including prevention, treatment, recovery, and transmission, click here.

Last updated: 3 August 2018