With Winter just around the corner, it's important to take precautions to stay healthy during the cold season. It's easy for some of us to fall sick with viral infections especially when it's so easy to catch amongst the children at work. Here are some strategies on how to overcome the winter season, while working.
Preventing Common Cold, Flu and Infections
During winter colds and flus and the most common to catch. To protect yourself:
- get immunised
- when coughing or sneezing cover your mouth and nose with a tissue
- throw tissues in the bin after using them
- wash your hands often throughout the day
- use hand sanitisers
- avoid touching your eyes, nose, mouth since this helps germs spread easily
- disinfect tables and toys daily to stop the spread of germs
Cold and Flu Symptoms
Colds are fairly common, and can be caused by any one of many cold viruses. Flu is caused by just 2 or 3 different strains of one virus each year and usually causes a more severe illness. The symptoms of flu come on suddenly with a high fever and affect your whole body – not just your head and chest like a cold.
Cold Symptoms include:
- low or no fever
- mild headache
- mild cough
- slight aches and pains
- mild fatigue
- sore throat
Flu Symptoms include:
- high fever
- headache - can be severe
- sometimes sneezing
- dry cough - often can become severe
- body aches and pains
- extreme fatigue
- sometimes a sore throat
How long are you contagious for?
With a cold you are contagious for about two to three days before developing symptoms and this contagious period can last until all symptoms are gone.
With flu you are infectious up to 24 hours before developing symptoms and for at least 7 days after (can be up to 14-21 days in children). For both colds and flu the greatest risk of spreading the infection is when symptoms are at their worst -day 2 to day 4 of illness.
Taking Sick Leave
If you have cold or flu like symptoms it's important to stay home and isolate yourself from others to avoid affecting them as well. Going to work, when you are sick is going to spread to others and make you feel worse. Don't try and "cover up" symptoms just to go to work. If you're sick, stay home.
Full time and part time employees (except casuals) are entitled to sick leave and you may have to give evidence such as a medical certificate to get paid.
- you should get 10 days each year of sick leave when working full time or
- pro rata of 10 days each year depending on hours worked part time
Eat Nutritious and Healthy Foods
Eating food high in nutritional value will give your body the vitamins, carbohydrates and fats needed for nourishment. Many vitamins are important for wound repair and immune function.
Try to include foods in your diet that are:
- high in antioxidants, protein and fibre
- high in vitamins B, C, D and E
- low in sugars and fats.
- Foods rich in vitamin C:
- red and green capsicum
- brussel sprouts
- Foods rich in vitamin A:
- sweet potato
- winter squash
- Foods rich in zinc:
- kidney beans
- flax seeds and pumpkin seeds
- lima beans
- dark chocolate
- brown rice
Drink Plenty Of Water
During the cold months it's easy to forget to continue drinking plenty of water throughout the day. It's important to keep yourself hydrated to keep your skin healthy, flush out toxins and ward off winter bugs.
Try sipping warm water in a flask throughout the day and even add a little lemon, honey or ginger to it to enhance the flavour and add in those extra vitamins and goodness.
While working it's important to keep yourself warm. Wear layers, which can be easily removed depending on the temperature throughout the day. While wearing work uniforms, wear singlets or long sleeved thermal tops under work shirts, wear tights under long pants (it really keeps you warm), wear thick socks with enclosed shoes. Also when going outside don't forget to wear a scarf. It's important to keep your chest closed.
Following these simple strategies will help you to stay healthy during the winter season.
- Tips On How To Survive The Winter, Nestle Australia
- Winter Is Coming - Strengthening Your Immune System, Mind Body Green
- Paid Sick Leave - Fair Work Australia
- Infection Control Cold and Flus, SA Health