Beating the winter colds and flu with Dettol

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Every single winter, since I was 18, I get a ridiculously painful upper repository tract infection plagued with all types of viruses and knocking me out cold for at least a week. The symptoms arrive and I start to freak out. Burning/itching throat, congested sinuses with tons of painful sneezes and torturous ear ache. I know the drill. See a doctor, get a prescription for antibiotics (and seeing as I'm allergic to the more common stuff, penicillin, I easily spend R700 an episode) and rest for a few days. However, this year will be different...I have come prepared!

Dettol have shared this awesome article with the interwebs to help us understand why we get sick by differentiating between bacteria and viruses, cold versus flu and informing us on how we can reduce our risk in coming into contact with these silent trouble makers. Here's what I took from the article.

Bacteria are tiny micro-organisms that are most commonly found on surfaces, just like those gross escalator handles at Menlyn. They are not that harmful but may make you ill. Viruses on the other hand, must get inside a living thing (like a human or animal) in order to survive and reproduce, hence why you shouldn't let people sneeze and cough near you.

I carry Dettol hand sanitizer and Dettol personal care wipes with me to disinfect those not so friendly bacteria that could cause some sniffles. If you are already sick then please use these Dettol products after handling tissues and other items that may contain harmful bacteria.

I'm all set. Disinfecting equipment, vitamins and tons of water.
Both the common cold and flu (influenza) are a viral infections affecting the upper respiratory system, so most of the symptoms involve the nose and throat such as sneezing, runny or stuffy noses, coughing and hoarseness. These colds and flu spread by inhaling droplets that come from other people or infected surfaces (such as coughing and sneezing). 

What makes flu particularly challenging and slightly more intense than the common cold is that you can infect someone the day before your own symptoms develop, and up to five days after your symptoms appear. That means you could give the flu to someone else before you even know you have it yourself. You need to keep an eye on colds and flu as they can quickly turn into lower respiratory tract infections, such as bronchitis and pneumonia. 

In general, you should follow healthy habits. Good hygiene can help stop cold and flu viruses spreading around your home. Wash your hands frequently with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Clean and disinfect surfaces regularly, especially the surfaces that people often touch with their hands (e.g. door handles, taps and work surfaces). Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing and sneezing. Put your used tissues in a bin and wash your hands thoroughly afterwards.

Jasmine is one of Malcolm's favourite scent's
In our house we use this yummy-smelling floor wash to disinfect common germs. This is especially important if you have small children and/or animals who infect and come in contact with infections.

Overall, many common colds and flu can be eliminated from your home by practicing good hygiene and being aware of what could be contaminated with bacteria and viruses. Like me, if you are in an "at risk" category, go to your pharmacy (like Dis-Chem) and get a flu shot. They are inexpensive and may help you skip colds and flu when they are dealt out in a few months.

Now I'm not a fortune teller but I can see that my chances of getting sick this winter will be a lot less now that I know more about how they originate. Don't forget to read the Dettol article here.


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