It’s also a season to catch a cold or flu - GulfToday

It’s also a season to catch a cold or flu

Birjees Hussain

She has more than 10 years of experience in writing articles on a range of topics including health, beauty, lifestyle, finance, management and Quality Management.

She has more than 10 years of experience in writing articles on a range of topics including health, beauty, lifestyle, finance, management and Quality Management.

It’s also a season to catch a cold or flu

With the changing seasons all over the world, we see people becoming sick with the cold or flu.

From November to around April or May we relish the new season in the Emirates. The rains, the cloudy skies and the cool breeze, all lend themselves to a perfect environment for an outdoor event.

But with the changing seasons all over the world, we are also inundated with people becoming sick with the cold or flu. Everywhere you go, everywhere you look, someone, somewhere is coughing or sneezing. Children, adults and even months-old babies are all sneezing or coughing at every moment you are out and about, sometimes ruining your day out. Don’t get me wrong. We all get colds and flues no matter how many precautions we take. So I’m not blaming anyone for getting ill, unless of course they neglected to or were knowingly careless about their health. What I do take issue with is how people handle themselves once they’ve succumbed to the virus or infection.

Next time you’re out and about and see someone with an obviously runny nose or chesty cough, watch how they comport themselves and how they interact with other people and with objects with which they come into contact. Do they cough or sneeze into their bare hands and then rub them together to dry off the phlegm they’ve omitted? Or onto the objects they are handling? Or over fresh produce in the supermarket? Your answer is probably a resounding yes.

I’m very fearful of buying fresh produce, especially when they’re open and loose, like potatoes, tomatoes, chillies and carrots. But I’m even more fearful of buying those fruits and vegetables that cannot easily be washed and peeled, like grapes and bitter gourd. I’ve seen people touch their hair, eyes, mouth and nose and then pick the produce. They’ve even had their small children rummage through chillies. I’m all for kids helping their mums but have you any idea where the child’s hands have been before he or she touched the fruit? I’ve seen children as young as 8 years old touch the soles of their feet and shoes and then touch the food on the shelves. On such occasions I’ve moved swiftly on and decided to buy my fruit and veg the next day. After all, if I don’t see anything I don’t like, well it won’t bother me as much.

Granted that adults may not touch the soles of their feet or of their shoes while they’re out shopping (at least I would hope not) but they do fiddle with their hair and ornaments, and if they have a cold or flu they’ll wipe their nose and mouth with the palms of their hands instead of a tissue. They then touch that door handle, that telephone handset at work, that button on the lift and the handrail on the escalator. Then you come along and touch those very same objects and that’s how a cold or flu is spread.

Now a lot of us carry around with us antibacterial wet wipes and hand sanitisers. I’ve seen folks sanitise their hands before eating. But here’s the alarming thing I read recently. Apparently those hand sanitisers, even the big, well-known brands, are pretty useless when it comes to combating colds and flues. It seems that the best and most effective remedy is the good old fashioned soap (even the antibacterial kind) and hot water.

That being said, when we’re out and about it’s not always practical or feasible to wash out hands whenever we suspect contamination. However, there are precautions we can take to try and protect ourselves. For example, we could try and be at least 6 feet away from a sneezer. We could make sure no one handles our mobile phones, something that’s becoming very common in shops because of their stupid apps we’re encouraged to download in order to get our loyalty points. After we handle supermarket trollies we should wash our hands before we open out fridge, any cupboard or door. In fact, since I’ve seen children standing inside shopping trollies I either lay down plastic bags on the bottom or ask the shop to give mine a wipe down with antiseptic before I start shopping. The supermarket is always very obliging whenever I ask.

Aside from these measures to prevent a cold or flu, always make sure you are properly hydrated by drinking adequate amounts of water. Take your vitamins, especially vitamin C, enjoy your fruits and vegetables and eat a balanced meal on time. And most of all, try not to get stressed about life because that is a major contributor to compromising your immune system. When that is down, you are more prone to catching bugs and viruses. Oh and by the way, if you do feel the need to sneeze, use a tissue. That shows courtesy to others.

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