With the winter chill in the air, the sounds of people sneezing and coughing gruffly can quickly fill up buses, trains, offices and even homes.
Impact of the flu
The Department of Health has a service called the Australian Influenza Surveillance Report and Activity Updates, which researches data and charts the latest numbers of flu cases throughout the country. As at June 5, 2015, there have already been 9,449 cases of laboratory confirmed influenza reported.
So, how can you keep yourself and your loved ones safe from the flu this winter?
Well, a key solution is to get vaccinated with the flu shot – but Health Direct recommends only ‘at risk’ people consider doing this annually, such as those with chronic diseases or the elderly.
Instead, take these simpler steps to stay fit and healthy throughout the winter season.
Make sure you eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. The brighter the colour of the produce, the more antioxidants and flavonoids it has, so pick the shiniest ones at the supermarket. As a rule of thumb, yellow and orange produce is rich in carotenoids and beta-caroten, excellent for your heart and eyesight.
Leafy greens such as spinach are high in iron content, so balance out meals with salads. Fish is high in omega-3, while chicken breast is full of protein, ideal to add to such meals. Garlic and onion are renowned for combating the flu, so smother dishes with these for protection. Drink hot lemon water in the mornings, too. All these steps flush out toxins, helping avoid infections and viruses like the flu.
“Exercise is the best preventive drug we have, and everybody needs to take that medicine,” said Jordan Metzl.
Dr Metzl is the author of The Exercise Cure, drawing on his professional experiences as a sports-medicine physician at New York City’s Hospital for Special Surgery to recommend the perks of exercise in keeping not just the flu, but many illnesses at bay. Your cardiovascular activity stays strong with regular exercise, so don’t just commit in the warm summer months but make it a point to treat your body like a temple even in winter.
Do as Dr Metzl prescribes and make sure you work out. Sign up to One55 this winter, using fun group fitness classes and exercise regimes to avoid getting bogged down with the flu. You can choose from a wide range of workouts including Body Pump, Body Step, Body Balance and Body Combat. For those of you wanting some specialised training, you can book in sessions with expert personal trainers to focus on your specific targets.
In addition to these tips, make sure to keep good hygiene and wash your hands regularly, or use sanitizer.