Aussie women are the real target of the dreaded winter cold and flu season, with a new study revealing that stressed out, overworked and rundown mums are compromising their own health, work and social life to stay home and take care of their sick children.
Commissioned by Wagner Kyolic Aged Garlic Extract™, the Newspoll survey of more than 1200 Australians aged 18-64 showed that 60% of Aussie mums were very likely to cancel any plans they had to stay home and mind their sick children - 13% higher than dads - and over three in five (61%) said they would let their unwell child sleep in their bed to comfort them, compared to 55% of fathers.
An overwhelming majority (86%) of parents with children younger than 12 were likely to take the day off work to stay home with their sick child, and three in five said they would not send their child to school or day care if they were ill, even if they had been given medicine. Four in five women (78%) believed they were at major risk of catching a cold or flu from a sick person at home, compared to just 65% of men, and a further 75% of women said that being overworked, rundown or stressed was a major risk factor, significantly higher than just 59% of men.
Sydney naturopath and TV presenter Emma Sutherland said the findings highlight the need for women to have a strong, healthy body before the winter months hit. She said high levels of stress lead to immune suppression, increasing the body's likelihood of catching a cold or flu.
"Mums are usually the primary caretaker in the household and very often have to juggle the various pressures of everyday life. Between keeping their productivity and energy levels up at work, managing the household chores and taking care of sick children - winter can be a very intense period for women," said Ms. Sutherland.
The survey also exposed the more disgusting drawbacks of the dreaded winter cold and flu. Almost nine in 10 (85%) Aussies have witnessed people who do not use a tissue or hanky to wipe their nose, four in five have seen people wipe their nose on their sleeve, and around half have had someone sneeze on the back of their neck, or experienced a snotty handshake.
Women were particularly more at risk of catching a cold or flu from being subject to a child sneezing in their face with 71% experiencing this, compared to just 59% of men.
When it came to preventative techniques to fight the onset of cold and flu, nine in 10 Australians said they undertook regular hand washing. Interestingly, 86% of women said they ate plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, compared to just 77% of men, while men were much more likely to take the 'easy option' with over two in five (43%) choosing to get a flu vaccination - 9% higher than their female counterparts. More than one in two (53%) Aussies said they use vitamins and supplements to help ward off cold and flu.
"Relaxation methods, good quality sleep, a healthy diet, regular exercise, washing your hands often, and boosting your immunity with natural supplements will all help you fight infections," said Emma Sutherland.
Ms. Sutherland said she often prescribes the use of an aged garlic supplement to patients due to its ability to fight and prevent colds and flu, and because it is a natural antibiotic and powerful antioxidant.
"Kyolic Aged Garlic Extract uses a unique, award-winning natural process, taking 20 months to complete, that converts the unstable compounds found in raw garlic to immune boosting antioxidants. The result is a super-charged garlic that helps support the body's natural immune defences against cold and flu, without the garlic breath," Emma Sutherland said.
Influenza hospitalises 15,000 Australians and claims the lives of around 2500 each year, which is why Emma Sutherland recommends preventative techniques to help boost the body's immunity and improve its ability to ward off winter colds and flu.
1. A diet high in fresh fruit and vegetables and whole grains ensures you get the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that are essential for a healthy immune system. Eat plenty of onion and garlic for their antimicrobial properties to keep germs at bay, and consider taking natural supplements like Kyolic Aged Garlic Extract™ to help prevent winter colds and flu. Ginger and chilli are warming foods and adding them to your dishes can also be a great immunity booster in the cooler months.
2. Ensure that you go into the winter months with adequate levels of Vitamin D. Research has shown that people with low Vitamin D get more frequent and more severe colds than people with high levels. As it is a fat soluble vitamin, be careful of eating "low fat" foods as you will be missing out on Vitamin D.
Natural sources are full fat dairy, sardines, egg yolks and cod liver oil.
3. Eat adequate amounts of protein as it forms the building blocks for your infection fighting antibodies. This can be obtained from animal sources such as lean meat, chicken, fish, eggs and dairy foods or from plant sources such as legumes, tofu and tempeh.
4. Wash your hands often as cold viruses can survive for several hours on hands, tissues, or hard surfaces. A healthy person can contract a virus by touching a contaminated surface, then touching his or her own mouth or nose. Studies demonstrate that touching your nose or eyes with the fingertip area leads to an overloaded immune system and most of the infections of the upper respiratory tract. Keyboards and telephones, particularly when they are shared, are among the most germ-laden places in a home or office and the average desk harbors 400 times more bacteria than the average toilet seat!
5. Studies suggest that moderate exercise is beneficial to strengthen the immune system. When you exercise you increase blood circulation through your body, therefore circulating antibodies and white blood cells, which means your immune system has a better chance of finding an illness before it has a chance to spread. A study was done with 50 women divided into exercise and non-exercise groups. The exercise group walked briskly 45 minutes for five days a week. The women who walked experienced half as many colds as the non-exercise group. Walkers had an increase in natural killer cells from the beginning. Natural killer cells are part of the defence against germs and viruses.
1. My first tip is to act quickly! Start taking natural antimicrobial herbs such as an aged garlic extract like Kyolic, Echinacea, Andrographis and Elder at the first signs of illness. It is far more effective to do this rather than waiting as you can prevent the virus from taking hold.
2. Avoid all forms of sugar including glucose, fructose, sucrose or processed juice as they significantly reduce the ability of white blood cells to destroy viruses. This is due to sugar blocking white blood cells from using Vitamin C, and this vitamin is vital in the fight against infection.
3. Start supplementing with Vitamin C as well as zinc. As mentioned, white blood cells require Vitamin C in their fight against infection but they also need the mineral zinc. Zinc can be found in oysters, sunflower seeds, lamb and beef while foods high in Vitamin C include blackcurrants, red chilli, red capsicum, broccoli, kale and lemon.
4. Temporarily reduce dairy products as these tend to increase mucous production and lead to congestion. This is a big tip for children as they tend to consume a lot of cheese, yoghurt and milk.
5. Taking natural supplements like Kyolic Aged Garlic Extract, as well as "friendly bacteria" such as Probiotica P3 to help support immune function and improve resistance to infection. Traces of probiotics are found in some foods (yoghurt, milk, miso and some juices and soy beverages) but are best administered via dietary supplements in capsule, tablet or powder form to ensure they survive the stomach acid and arrive where they are in needed in the intestine in sufficient numbers to make a difference.
Risk Factor: Being overworked, run-down or stressed: Stress increases the levels of adrenal gland hormones, including adrenalin and cortisol. Among other things, these hormones slow down white blood cell formation and function. The effects of these hormones lead to suppression of immune function, leaving the body susceptible to infections. The level of immune suppression is usually proportional to the level of stress; the greater the stress the greater the negative impact. Relaxation techniques such as exercise, meditation, reading and laughing as well as good quality sleep will go a long way in boosting your immunity and decreasing the likelihood of catching a cold or flu.
Risk Factor: Not eating the right foods: Many foods will reduce your immunity while others will boost it and knowing which ones to load up on is the key to staying free from nasty infections. This is probably one of the biggest risk factors - if you don't develop a strong resistance then despite all your efforts, you will probably get sick. Avoid having too much sugar, alcohol, caffeine and processed foods as these will leach vital vitamins, minerals and antioxidants from your body. Smoking depletes Vitamin C and zinc which are two major nutrients used by the immune system. Foods that support a strong immune system include berries, plums, raisons, prunes, pomegranate, sweet potato, broccoli, artichokes, apples, carrots, tomatoes and kiwifruit. The key is to eat beneficial foods on a daily basis, not just occasionally!
Risk Factor: Experiencing a change in the weather: Many people catch colds at the change of season and the sudden shift in environmental factors such as temperature, wind and humidity can go a long way in providing ideal conditions for germs to thrive. If you are prone to hayfever or colds at these times then start supporting your immune system in the months beforehand. Taking a natural remedy like Wagner Kyolic Aged Garlic Extract can help build your body's natural immune defences against cold and flu. Kyolic's unique 20-month ageing process results in a super-charged immune boosting garlic supplement without the garlic breath.
Risk Factor: Air-conditioning in the home or workplace: We spend far more time in air conditioning than we did even 10 years ago and it does have some downsides. The spread of germs is made all the more easy and lack of fresh air means those germs are more densely concentrated. At home, open your windows and air out the house as much as you can and use the air con only when really necessary. At work, get out of the office on your lunch break and ensure you use hand sanitiser before eating. Add a few drops of lemon balm essential oil to a tissue and place it near the fan in your computer. Lemon balm has shown strong antiviral properties in clinical research and it is beautifully uplifting too.
Risk Factor: Not keeping fit: Keeping fit is vital if you want to avoid getting sick! A study was done with 50 women divided into exercise and non-exercise groups. The exercise group walked briskly 45 minutes for five days a week. The women who walked experienced half as many colds as the non-exercise group. Walkers had an increase in natural killer cells from the beginning. Natural killer cells are part of the defence against germs and viruses. Exercising also floods our body with natural endorphins which have the opposite effect of our stress hormones - they boost the immune system!
Risk Factor: Public transport such as buses, trains and planes: The main concern with public transport is the increased exposure to germs. I have found that people who support their immune systems on a regular basis are less likely to get infections in this way. Avoid eating while you are travelling, use antiseptic wipes and throw away tissues as you use them. Thyme essential oil has strong antiviral properties so simply add a drop onto your clothes in a place that won't be seen. If you feel even the slightest sore throat after your trip, try homeopathic remedies such as Aconite and Ferrum phos.
Risk Factor: A member of your household having a cold: It's impossible to avoid exposure in this situation so they key is to have a strong immune system to begin with. Working preventatively will be far more effective than waiting until someone close to you is already sick. Take immune boosting supplements such as Wagner Kyolic Aged Garlic Extract, probiotics and Vitamin C on a regular basis, and eat foods that boost your immunity.
The Real Boost Juice
Survive the winter cold and flu blues with my simple immunity boosting juice recipe. I have it up to four times a week during the chilly months.
1 small beetroot
1 inch of fresh ginger
1 clove of garlic
1 whole lemon
Get yourself a good juicer and juice in the following order: First carrot, garlic, ginger, beetroot, three remaining carrots then lemon. It really is best if you use organic ingredients as they are far more nutritionally dense. Add to a big glass with a few ice cubes and you will feel amazing and germ free!
Emma Sutherland N.D.BHlth Sc (CompMed) MATMS, MNHAA - is a successful naturopath and TV presenter and her mission in life is to inspire women to get their mojo back. She was the expert nutritionist in a premier show on LifeStyle You in 2011 called "Eat Yourself Sexy". Emma was the resident Naturopath on the TV show "The Daily" in 2010, and is a keynote presenter and private consultant at the exclusive Golden Door Health Retreat. Emma is a fully qualified Naturopath, having completed four years of training in Herbal Medicine, Nutrition and Homoeopathy as well as a Bachelor of Health Science. She has completed post graduate training in women's health and is also a certified HypnoBirthing instructor.
Wagner is a pharmacy-only brand of premium quality, natural health supplements designed specifically to help maintain the health and wellbeing of Australians like you. Wagner products harness nature's power, using top quality herbal and nutritional ingredients that are backed by research. The results are specialist formulations that support your health across a range of areas, including bone and joint health, immunity, cold and flu, heart health, muscle cramps/tension, stress, digestive health, menopause and prostate health. Wagner products are brought to you by the Australian company, Vitaco Health Ltd. For more information on Wagner products, visit www.wagnerproducts.com.au