The winter months are notorious for coughs, colds, flu and a variety of other ailments. Mahurangi Matters spoke to two local health practitioners, asking their advice on maintaining good health this winter.
Dr Tim Malloy
Coast to Coast Health Care
In the wake of Covid 19, complacency will be the enemy to beat if we are all to stay healthy this winter, according to Dr Tim Malloy.
Dr Malloy says peoples immune response is weaker during winter, meaning all viruses pose a greater threat.
“If we were to get community transmission of, for example, the UK variant of the Covid virus this winter then its impact would be significant,” he says.
Those most at risk are the elderly, those with chronic disease or those whose immune response might be compromised for other reasons, such as the medication they are taking.
That means the health precautions we have all been urged to take to prevent the spread of Covid – good hand hygiene, cough or sneeze into disposable tissues, physical distancing and staying at home if unwell – become all the more pertinent.
Of course, risks become significantly reduced if there is a good uptake of the Covid-19 vaccine.
Dr Malloy says last year there was actually a reduction in winter illness in the Mahurangi region because of all the precautions that were being taken in relation to Covid.
The situation was improved further by more people taking the opportunity to be vaccinated against influenza.
Dr Malloy recommends everybody gets a flu jab. The Government subsidises the injection for those over 65 and those with chronic conditions. For everybody else it typically costs around $20 – a relatively small cost when one considers succumbing to flu could keep someone off work for two weeks.
When it comes to the general population, Dr Malloy says there is no hard scientific evidence that taking vitamins and other supplements can boost the immune system and help prevent coughs and colds.
However, he allows that such supplements might work for specific individuals and if they find them helpful, then by all means take them.
Dr Lindsay Best
Unsurprisingly, Dr Best tends to deal with more rugby, netball and soccer injuries during winter but does even more work helping prevent those injuries in the first place.
She says when taking up a sport or a new fitness regime, it often pays to consult a health professional and a chiropractor should certainly be considered.
She says a chiropractor looks at how well the brain is communicating with the body via the nervous system.
If there is a disconnect there, then a person might go to kick a ball and miss it – simultaneously jarring their body and causing an injury.
On the other hand, if the brain and body are better synchronised, then a person will exhibit better balance and have better spatial perception.
Not only will the sportsman or woman be less prone to injury, they will also enhance their performance on the field.
Dr Best says a chiropractic exam will check posture, body alignment and check every joint from the pelvis up to the neck to ensure everything is moving freely and nothing is restricted.