It’s flu season in Brisbane — but it’s also Ekka time, and we believe you should enjoy an outing at the Royal Queensland Show without worrying about getting sick.
If you need to put your mind at ease, here are 10 things you can do that’ll help you avoid getting sick at the Ekka — or anywhere else, for that matter.
1. Try to avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth when you are out.
Although most infections are mainly carried in the air and transmitted by the “aerosol” effect when someone sneezes, germs can be transmitted by physical contact and enter the body when infected hands touch vulnerable parts like our eyes, mouths and noses.
2. Take some hand sanitiser with you and use it to clean your hands before touching food or eating.
This prevents, or at least slows down, the rapid spread of germs.
3. Avoid touching any rubbish or picking things up off the ground.
This is especially important for kids as they love to explore and investigate. Attempt to contain their excitement about random items on the ground if you can.
4. Wash your hands well, especially after visiting any animals.
Washing hands often — and drying them on disposable paper towels (or laundering hand towels regularly) — can significantly reduce the chances of catching a virus.
5. Drink plenty of water and incorporate some healthy eating options.
Eat one or two pieces of fruit throughout the day, in addition to the fun Ekka foods, and it will help support your immune system. Doctors recommend we drink about eight glasses of water a day to stay healthy as water helps the kidneys function properly and flushes out the toxins that accumulate in our bodies. If you have a cold, being dehydrated makes your mucus drier and thicker and less able to cope against invading bacteria and viruses.
6. Think about using a saline nasal spray, which can be purchased from your chemist or supermarket.
They can help moisturise dry sinus cavities, loosen nasal congestion, and remove debris or pollens from the nose, which is especially useful during these dry and windy August days.
7. Keeping warm can help you avoid coughs, colds and flu.
Especially if there’s a sudden icy snap, we will be more likely to feel the cold and start to shiver. Shivering depresses the immune system and this makes us more likely to catch colds. Also, lower levels of sunlight and altered levels of hormones such as melatonin and serotonin negatively affect how the immune system performs. Plus we lose up to 30per cent of our body heat through our heads — so wear a hat.
8. Watch the weather.
Low cloud and dull and misty conditions tend to bring an increase in germs, and viruses survive longer when the weather is moist. They can hang in the air attached to water droplets more easily, and when it’s cloudy and dull there are fewer breezes to blow the germs away. This is the time when you’re more likely to catch something — although you may not notice you’ve done so until ten to 12 days later.
9. Avoid huddling.
This makes it easier for infections to pass between people. Crowded trains and walkways with little ventilation, food stalls with long lines, and people gathering for shows in the various venues all make catching a cold more likely.
10. Herbal help.
If your immune system needs pepping up to withstand the winter onslaught of germs, there are a few that you should consider incorporating you’re your daily routine. Echinacea, zinc, garlic and probiotics should all be an integral part of your flu prevention. All these supplements are agents to help heal viral and bacterial infections.
Feeling positive about your health and ready to get along to the show? Then we’ll see you at the Ekka!