Yes, it is flu season and therefore time to think about what we can do to better understand and prevent the illness.
As usual, our in-house medical team has led the education process and we were very fortunate to have Dr Scott Wilkinson, our Medical Director, to address our staff and in many cases administer our flu vaccinations at the same time!!
Dr Wilkinson’s message included a number of critical points.
Learn the difference between colds and influenzas (flu):
- Both are infections caused by viruses and therefore antibiotics don’t help to treat these.
- Colds occur on average 3-4 times a year for adults : gradual onset of runny nose, sore throat, mild aches and occasional fever – usually 0-2 days off work
- Influenza infections usually once every few years at most : Sudden onset body aches, bad headache and fever. “Feel like you’ve been hit by a bus”. Bronchitis and pneumonia are possible complications – unable to go to work, lasts 1-2 weeks.
- No vaccine available for colds / Annual vaccine available for influenza
How to manage colds and flu if you are ill:
- Rest, fluids, panadol and/or nurofen for the aches
- No evidence that garlic, vitamin C or echinacea has any effect, despite hundreds of studies.
- Zinc lozenges 75mg (available from pharmacies) DO shorten the duration of colds if you start taking them in first day or two.
- Tamiflu (prescription) can reduce influenza symptoms if commenced in first two days of illness
For the males in the audience, there was one piece of good news from Dr Wilkinson – “research has yet to find evidence of ‘man-flu’ but we will keep looking!”