The cold winter months are fast approaching and as temperatures drop, the numbers for people caught in the icy grip of colds and flu’s go up.

Flu season in the Southern Hemisphere begins from May and lasts until October every year according to the World Health Organisation’s Global Influenza Surveillance network.

A possible explanation for the relationship between the influenza virus and winter is humidity. Researchers have found that the virus survives best at extremely high and low humidity, the type you would find indoors during the winter.

One way to combat the survival of the flu virus in the air and on the surfaces in your home this winter is with the help of a humidifier. When it comes to preventing and treating cold and flu symptoms there is a lot that can be done.

Flu vaccinations are one of the most popular preventative measures and most pharmacies and doctors’ surgeries offer this service in the run up to the flu season. The Campus Health and Wellness Clinic offers flu vaccinations to students at a cost of R55. According to Campus Health the vaccinations are already out of stock because many students flock to get their seasonal jab before winter kicks in.

If you have not been able to get your flu vaccination, you can still try and ward off colds and flu’s by following home remedies like increasing your intake of vitamin C. This can be done with a vitamin C supplement or eating foods that are high in vitamin C like red bell peppers, oranges or strawberries.

One of the most important things to remember during this season is practicing good cold & flu etiquette if you really want to keep the flu at bay. Washing your hands regularly, coughing into a tissue or your sleeve and not into your bare hands can help prevent the spread of colds and flu’s.

Additional Resources

Wits Vuvuzela April 15 2011: Influenza can be prevented this Winter February 2013: Flu-Proof your home May 2013: Flu Season Etiquette- What you need to know about flu and the office