Monday, 06 May 2013

The Cold Facts (19 Facts you need to know to prevent getting sick)

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As the weather begins to cool and you begin to feel a slight chill in the air, with it comes the sound of blowing noses and sneezing. You know it’s coming and you may think its unavoidable but knowing the facts and how to prevent it will go a long way in ensuring your optimal health during the throws of cold and flu season. 

“While the common cold may not kill you, it may weaken your immune system to the point that other, more dangerous, germs can take hold of your body,” says PharmaChoice spokesperson, pharmacist, Liezl van Tonder. “Just think about how many times your cold turned into bronchitis or a sinus infection.” 

She says that the average adult suffers two to three colds a year, which means by the time you reach 75 you would have suffered over 200 times, that’s two years of your life spent sneezing. “That is a lot of opportunities for serious illness — and just as many to prevent one!”

“The best way to stand a fighting chance is to take pre-emptive measures to ensure your immune system is in top form,” she says. “When our immune systems are robust and the viral exposure is relatively limited, we shrug off any attack. But when the viral contact is repeated and quite heavy, or when our immune systems are compromised, for instance at the change of season, or in the cold of winter, we succumb, and get a cold, or flu.”

She suggests taking an immune boosting supplement like, ViralChoice. “It is a powerhouse of vitamins and antioxidants and contains some of the most highly-rated boosters provided by nature.” 

“It works in two ways by helping reduce the susceptibility to cold and flu infection and aids in recovery by reducing the duration and severity of colds and flu,” she adds. “It will go a long way in ensuring you maintain optimal health during the throws of cold and flu season.” 

According to van Tonder plenty of sleep is also key in maintaining a healthy lifestyle in the winter as well as eating a healthy, balanced diet, keeping hydrated and exercising.

She provides the cold hard facts:

•One sneeze can spray 3,000 infectious droplets into the air at more than 160 km’s per hour.
 
•Cold and flu viruses can live from two to eight hours on hard surfaces and up to three hours on your skin.
 
•The common cold causes more time off from work and school than any other illness and flu is the most infectious disease in the world.
 
•The flu virus is associated with about 36 000 deaths and half a million hospitalisations every year and is to blame for 40-million days of missed work and school world-wide every year and yet a recent online survey found that 84% of employees admit going to work while sick.
 
•The total economic loss associated with the common cold in the US alone is estimated to be in excess of $20 million.
 
•Most adults suffer from 2 to 3 colds a year. Children in school can have as many as 12 colds per year!
 
•Flu symptoms start 1 to four days after the virus enters the body, so you may pass on the flu to someone else before you realise you are sick therefore it is important to boost your immune system and protect yourself over the flu season to ensure risks are minimised.
 
•Washing your hands can reduce your susceptibility to cold and flu by 24%. The World Health Organization points out that washing your hands often makes you 24 percent less likely to catch a respiratory illness and up to 50 percent less likely to get a stomach bug.
 
•Eighty percent of common infections are spread by hands. Washing your hands at least five times a day has been shown to significantly decrease the frequency of colds, influenza (the “flu”) and other infections. Not only will it help keep you healthy, it will help prevent the spread of infectious diseases to others.
 
•Colds and flu are caused by viruses and antibiotics do not impact viruses, but they may help prevent secondary infections that may occur. One should be careful of overuse of antibiotics as every time you take antibiotics more bacteria in your body may become resistant to the medication.
 
•The common cold normally lasts for about 7 to 10 days and you will start showing symptoms about 3 days after you were infected.
•The flu typically lasts about 5 to 7 days and normally you will start showing symptoms about  1 day after you were infected.
 
•Using your knuckle to rub your eyes reduces the number of germs spread to your face. Your knuckle is less likely to be contaminated with viruses than your fingertip. This is particularly important given that the eye provides a perfect entry point for germs, and the average person rubs his eyes or nose or scratches his face on average 30 times a day.
 
•While you may be distrustful of a communal bathroom, did you know? Your desk probably contains about 400 times more bacteria than a toilet seat.
 
•Your hands come into contact with 10-million bacteria a day while you are at the office.

•When you make a phone call at work, about 25,127 microbes per square inch are listening, making the phone the germiest item on your desk.

•Your keyboard and computer mouse also harbor bacteria, and so does your desktop. In a study that swiped the desks of different workers, teachers ranked as the germiest profession, while the cubicle-dwelling accountant came in second. The accountant's desk racked up 6,030 bacteria per square inch.

•Twenty percent of office mugs carry faecal bacteria, and 90 percent are covered in other germs, that's because in an office, most people tend to clean their cups with bacteria-laden sponges or scrub brushes instead of in a dishwasher. That bacteria transfers to the mug and can live there for days.

•Snacking at your office desk means you share your lunch with a bunch of germs, according to a recent survey, 27 percent of us eat breakfast at our desks, most of us eat lunch there (62 percent) and 50 percent of us spend the rest of the day snacking in our cubes or offices. All that eating at our desks is wreaking havoc in our work zones turning them into bacteria-laden hot messes. Yet 20 percent of workers have admmited they never clean their desk before eating, and 75 percent of workers wipe down only occasionally.
 
Remember that the flu is something that everyone gets once in a while, and there is no sure guarantee to prevent it. But if you want to decrease your chances of being stuck at home with the pesky flu, know your facts, try to avoid bacteria hotspots and use these tips.

For more information visit: http://www.pharmachoice.co.za or facebook.com/PharmaChoiceZA or Twitter: @PharmaChoiceZA

Published in Health and Medicine