We've all heard the old wives tales about getting sick (Don't go out with wet hair; Dairy will make your cold worse). Science has mostly debunked these myths but there are still some surprising truths that will make dealing with illness a little bit easier.
Even if you're rarely ill, a flu shot is recommended
It can protect you but, just as important, the shot lowers the odds that you’ll pass influenza germs to kids and those who are immunocompromised. The Australian Government’s Department of Health recommends vaccination for everyone over six months old. Those eligible for a free flu shot under the National Immunisation Program include people aged 65 and over, pregnant women, those who suffer chronic conditions and, for the first time, all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from six months old.
It’s important to get a flu shot every year, as the virus changes each year. Most people will develop immunity within two to three weeks of vaccination. As influenza usually occurs from June, with the peak around August, even vaccinating now will allow you to develop immunity before the flu season is over.
Self-pampering can help you stay well
Whether it’s yoga, a Netflix binge or seeing only your least dramatic friends, use your relaxation technique of choice liberally. Chronic stress increases your risk of getting sick.
You can't get the same cold twice
That means your husband won’t reinfect you with the cold you gave him – once you fight it off, you’re immune. The bummer? It’s possible to catch a different cold virus right after you’re over the first one.
It's okay to snuggle with your pets
A little sympathy from your fur babies is great when you feel like rubbish, so go ahead and cuddle up, says preventive medicine expert Dr William Schaffner. It’s very unlikely that you will pass a cold or flu to one another, he says.
There's no need to toss your toothbrush
The brush you used while you had a cold cannot reinfect you, say researchers, because you’ve got immunity to that particular virus.
First published: 9 Jul 2019