Prepare for the Season of Cough & Cold


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The winter season is upon us. Already many of us are walking about with sore throats and runny noses. Despite taking full care to avoid the chills we end up feeling cold, frazzled and feverish. The cold and flu season has finally arrived. And even as we find relief in hot ginger tea or comforting soups we just want to lie down and snuggle up inside warm blankets.

The cold air mixed with dust and other pollutants that keeps circulating outdoors is the main cause of our maladies and the reason why we feel so miserable. It would therefore be good if one takes due care and learns how best to avoid catching infections. Preparing ahead will do us a world of good. If we take steps to reduce risk of being sick we stand a better chance of staying fit. Nobody likes wasting days in bed.

Prevention as they say is better than cure. It is best to primarily avoid getting sick and a flu shot is your best bet at staying healthy. But in case you catch a cold then it may be a good idea to prepare a survival kit well in advance so as to wrestle with the viruses when they attack. It is recommended that maintaining a healthy routine is fundamental to staying fit and well.

Nothing like restful sleep at night for a good 7-8 hours to wake up early morning absolutely refreshed. Findings of a minor study done eight years back suggest that people getting less than seven hours of sleep were three times more likely to catch a cold than those who got at least eight hours. So sleep well and half your winter troubles will take care of themselves.

Colds and flu are spread through droplets in sneezes and coughs which means anyone within a three-foot radius is at risk for contracting it! But flu can also live on hard surfaces for 24 hours. Remember to keep washing your hands all the time as it is still the best method of protection. So every time you come in make sure you wash your hands with water and soap. Also make it a habit to keep all surfaces indoors clean by regular dusting. This will reduce the spread of flu microbes around the household or the workplace. This is crucial especially for people who can’t afford to be sick – moms and caregivers with family responsibilities, and dads and breadwinners who can’t skip their jobs.

The best thing to do is to keep handy a cold and flu survival kit early on. It would be great to put together necessary items sooner than later so that you are well prepared before the season catches you unawares. Colds and coughs are contagious illnesses and you can feel the uneasy signs – itchy throats, watery eyes and moist nasal cavities prior to it hitting you head on. So before the fever breaks get this together so you don’t have to step out when you are really sick.

  • Anti-fever medicines
  • Nasal drops
  • Cold and sinus infection medicines
  • Cough drops or syrup
  • Antiviral treatment remedies

It’s a good idea to have other essential things like a thermometer, paper tissues, cold compresses, or a hot water bottle and so on. Natural honey is great for reducing throat irritation. Keep yourself well hydrated with plentiful fluids – water, herbal teas, juices and soups. When in bed you could always complete your reading so get a good book that will keep your mind away from your sickness. Or you could indulge yourself with binge watching TV. But make sure you sleep well and long at night.

September 10 – World Suicide Prevention Day – Stay Calm & Choose Life

Suicide Prevention

This Too Shall Pass

Today we address a very somber issue. We may not have worried overly on this topic. But when we hear of students confiding of failure in studies or inability to seek admissions and start thinking along lines of self-destruct – we get concerned. We need to say – hey buddy hang around. Wait and watch. Life changes incessantly. Change is the only constant. And life never ceases to offer amazing avenues. So keep the faith – primarily on yourself. Look around and seek alternatives. Read stories of inspiration. Watch your world turn around!

World Suicide Prevention Day is observed on 10 September each year. The day provides an opportunity for joint action to raise awareness about suicide and suicide prevention around the world. The WHO Mental Health Action Plan 2013-2020 has Member States committed to working towards global target of reducing suicide rate by 10% by 2020. The World Health Organization informs nearly 800,000 people die by suicide every year! These are surprising and frightening statistics. We have a part to play here – we need to act as the gatekeepers.

Grievously 75% of suicides occur in low and middle-income countries. The NCRB (National Crime Records Bureau) in India as also several other studies continue to reveal alarming projections for percentage of suicide in India. Of the 800,000 people committing suicide worldwide every year, of these 135,000 (17%) are residents of India! According to Dr Shekhar Saxena, Director – Department of Mental Health & Substance Abuse at WHO, “We know what works. Now is the time to act”.

The fact is people attempt to take their lives when they feel desperate and are unable to cope with problems. More suicides occur between 18 and 45, during productive age group years. The psychological and social impact of suicide on families is immeasurable. Studies suggest that each suicide leaves at least 6 people devastated and 6 lakh people become survivors every year in India. According to Dr Margaret Chan, WHO Director-General the report on global suicide phenomenon “… is a call for action to address a large public health problem which has been shrouded in taboo for far too long”.

Suicides happen all over the world and actually take place at any age. Globally, suicide rates are highest in people aged 70 years and over. In some countries, however, the highest rates are found among the young. More men die by suicide than women. In developed countries three times as many men die by suicide than women. Men aged 50 years and above are particularly vulnerable. In low and middle-income countries young adults and elderly women evince higher rates of suicide than counterparts in high-income countries.

The good news is – Suicides are preventable. Effective measures include watchfulness, community support, care, compassion and extending hope. WHO recommends countries involve a range of government departments in developing a comprehensive coordinated response. High-level commitment is needed not just within the health sector, but also within education, employment and social welfare agencies. Extend help so that sufferers absorb set-backs and failures and look ahead with hope and fortitude. Human beings are naturally resilient. Teach them to lean on to their survival instincts. Never let them get to the point where they breakdown.

One needs to learn to live it up, despite it all. Stress and depression are part and parcel of life. Look at life through all its  vicissitudes. Cultivate hope and stay strong. Learn to laugh!! Laughing helps ease stress. Actually laughing is a great work out for the psyche. It refreshes and motivates you. Children laugh about 300 times a day while adults laugh only 15 to 100 times. Life needs to be dealt fair and square. Live each day one day at a time, when things go wrong, as they sometimes will. Accept. Resign. Move On. This ought to be the mantra for dispirited souls. The next best thing is to keep yourselves occupied – occupied in mind and body. Working hands are happy hands they say. Rejuvenate your psyches with laughter, music, nature and warmth of loving relationships. And keep chanting – This Too Shall Pass!

Live It Up

Stay Calm – Choose Life