Battling the cold war

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Flu season looming On a dreary day like today, there is nothing worse than travelling in cramped public transport with someone sneezing, wheezing and coughing all over you. As the chilliness approaches, the cold and flu bug is literally ‘breathing down our backs’.

With swine flu making headlines last year, what lessons did we learn? And at a time of significant discussion about vaccinations, how will we combat the inevitable germs we will be exposed to this winter?

Our own mini poll conducted almost two weeks ago provides a snapshot of 100 Australians’ experience with the winter woes last year – 80% were hit with a cold, almost half took time off work and one-in-five saw a GP as a result.

Of those that visited their GP, the most common diagnosis was a viral infection – very few were diagnosed with influenza.

The poll offers clues to our likely behaviour this year. We asked all participants if they expected to catch a cold this winter and only 21% feel that they won’t get struck down. So what will the rest of us do to fight the dreaded lurgy?

We discovered almost one-third is planning to have a flu vaccination, which is similar to the number of survey respondents who had the jab a year ago.

When asked about cold treatment strategies, short of packing up and moving to a tropical island, heading to a pharmacy for cold and flu medication was the number one remedy by far, followed by resting and taking it easy. Only a small number feel they will need to trouble their GP.

With Australians now urged more than ever to take greater responsibility for managing their own health, these results are encouraging to see. We must be listening. Well at least Cube’s friends and colleagues are! Thank you to everyone who participated in our poll.

So what will you do to contest the cold and flu crusade this year?

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