Improve your immunity to respiratory infections and your chances against Covid-19.
- Flu vaccine – it’s worth noting there were over 220,000 influenza cases in Australia in 2019 and over 400 flu deaths in the same year. Mass immunisation will reduce flu cases, help us detect and test for Covid-19, and reduce strain on the health system. For individual with chronic disease or compromised immune systems, it is paramount we avoid the double whammy of both infections this winter. Both influenza and Covid-19 cause respiratory and heart distress through similar disease processes, therefore compounding the severity of illness and increasing the risk of hospitalisation if you get both this winter
- Pneumococcal vaccine – for anyone over 65 years old (provided every 5 years), again to protect the lungs from concurrent respiratory infection
- The most important body process is protecting the heart during viral infections – fatalities occur through acute coronary syndromes associated with severe, initial inflammatory response to infections, then myocardial depression leading to heart failure, and then a risk of arrhythmias. Read our other articles on exercise, stress management and optimising any chronic health conditions including heart disease.
Take your medications:
- Review regularly – medications need to be titrated according to clinical guidelines, how chronic conditions are being managed (e.g. sugar or blood pressure control), whether there are side effects or interactions with other medications, and if they are working appropriately. If we take diabetes management as an example, 4 out of 5 GPs in Australia don’t review medications to control sugar levels in a timely way (according to a panel of endocrinologists who specialise in diabetes)
- Ensure they are in date and stored properly – medications lose potency when they expire or when heated
- Have enough of your medications for the next 2-3 months, or ensure you have a way to get to the pharmacy with prescriptions at hand (make use of pharmacies that home deliver)
- Take medications properly – for example anti-inflammatories with food, iron tablets with juice (but not tea) and bone density medications standing up. Only 60% of medications are taken according to the regime prescribed by doctors. Taking medications as prescribed, if you have heart disease, can reduce the risk of death in respiratory infections
- Beware of medications that can interact, or cause adverse effects on chronic health conditions – for example, decongestants can raise blood pressure, anti-inflammatories can make kidney disease worse and paracetamol can exacerbate liver disease
- Ensure good inhaler technique – 1 out of 3 asthma or lung disease patients don’t use their inhalers properly leading to poor control, and sub-optimal inhaler use results in more respiratory illness flare-ups
Call Osana on 13WELL to review your medications and book in your flu and/or pneumococcal vaccination with our Practice Nurses or GPs.