It’s officially here, people taking time off work, your kids and grand-kids staying at home, sick in bed with high fevers, and hospital and doctors offices entertaining high volumes of people with similar complaints, a cold and flu virus, and while we are no stranger to the effects and inconveniences of the cold and flu bug, there seems to be slight variations in the virus each time a new season rolls around, and one that people are not always prepared for.
While it may well be true that cold weather appears to breed the type of bacteria that ends up making all of us miserable, cold and flu can occur at any time of year, and it spreads quickly and easily. Flu season tends to creep up at the beginning of the cold weather months and peak around February. It can certainly do a lot of damage within that period of time, too. Millions of people will need time off during cold and flu season, as spreading the virus is easy, through contact on hands, dishes and computers, not to mention kitchens and bathrooms that aren’t properly kept. Cold and flu will affect about 20% of the population at some point, namely in the spring, even though it still hits hard in the winter, it certainly isn’t isolated to that time.
Cold and flu virus and bacteria spreads through the air (airborne illness) and through infected human touch. You may feel that with so much of it ‘going around’ there is simply no way you can avoid it. While certain high risk patients might be advised to consider the flu shot, anti-bacterial methods such as soap and disinfectant can provide some assistance too.
Most experts will say the number one method of cold and flu avoidance is to not touch your face, and this method of keeping the germs away could be much more effective than trying to stave them off through over-washing. One fun fact that medical practitioners share is saying that the use of anti-bacterial soaps can really dry out the skin, leaving it more susceptible to infection and virus sneaking past the gate.
Doctors also mention that flu symptoms are a lot more severe than cold symptoms, and a good way to tell which one you are dealing with is the duration of time it takes for the full blown virus to appear on your front door. The flu virus has a much faster turnaround time than a cold virus, which can help you if you are thinking of heading to the after-hours clinic. After all having a good idea of what you are dealing with could prevent unnecessary visits and time spent sitting waiting alongside the germs of dozens of other people.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO) there are some predictions for this winter’s cold and flu season that you should take into account, especially if you are considering a flu shot. They say that there are three types of flu that will be more likely to grace North American’s this season: H3N2, influenza B and H1N1.