Dodging the influenza season like a ninja | Editorial

With the latest NSW Health surveillance reporting showing the 2017 influenza season peaking four weeks earlier compared with the previous four years, as well as the average notifications of confirmed influenza in Southern NSW increasing compared with the same period in 2016, it dawned on me that I’ve been fortunate to have stayed mostly healthy during my first winter in the region.

After all, I did grow up in Far North Queensland where 15 degrees Celsius requires bonfires, puffy jackets and exaggerated ‘winter is coming’ memes.

The only brush with influenza-like illness I have experienced so far was coming back to Yass after a week away in May.

Driving into a freezing, fog-laden Yass Valley Way at close to midnight, my instinct told me it won’t bode well.

Sure enough, dry cough, congested nose, sneezing and general fatigue had set in during the next morning.

That lasted less than 24 hours, though – thanks to multiple doses of all the cold- and flu-treatment products recommended by a local pharmacist.

Besides the run of good luck, afternoon naps, a balanced diet and regular cardiovascular exercise have also played roles in fighting off winter illnesses.

Indeed, exercise has been shown to boost one’s immune system. Plus, in winter, it also boosts your metabolism.

Get outdoors and take advantage of our great and no-cost facilities, including the Riverbank fitness stations – it’s outdoors and full of fresh air, even if it is cold.

I much rather exercise in subzero temperatures in Yass Valley than be showered in sweat after stepping out of the shower in Cairns, that’s for sure.

While the influenza virus is more concerning elsewhere in NSW compared with Yass Valley, we still need to work to contain any influenza-like symptoms and illness here.

As advised by Dr Ray Burn, however, we shouldn’t be complacent, which is why this week I’ve decided to finally get a flu shot for added defence.

He reminds us that “it does not help to be brave and go to work to share with colleagues”.

It has been too long since I’ve had a needle jabbed in me, so I had hoped it was not as big as me – jockey-sized in stature. Fortunately, too, I didn’t pass out.