women

Coughs, colds and flu

Viruses mostly cause upper respiratory tract infections but bacterial infection can occur, resulting in illnesses such as sinusitis and pneumonia.

Description: Coughs, colds and flu

Coughs, colds and flu

What you can do

Be familiar with signs and symptoms so you can take appropriate action.

·         A runny or a blocked nose, sore throat and cough would suggest a cold. If accompanied by a temperature, muscle aches and pains, it may be the flu.

·         A cough producing green-yellow sputum is likely to be bronchitis or a bacterial infection.

Regular hand-washing and/or using a hand sanitizer may significantly reduce the transmission of colds and flu.

Talk to your doctor about including medications to relieve respiratory tract infections (decongestants, antihistamines) and a broad-spectrum antibiotic in your kit.

While most respiratory tract infections will subside on their own, seek medical advice if any of the following develop.

·         A temperature over 40˚C

·         Copious green or yellow sputum

·         Severe sore throat and swollen glands

·         Prolonged illness for more than seven days. If you suspect flu, seek medical advice.

Bites and stings

Aside from transmitting serious disease, insect bites and stings can be painful and annoying and can lead to skin infections.

·         If you are bitten, avoid scratching and apply hydrocortisone cream or calamine lotion.

·         A sting-relief spray will ease symptoms and ice packs will reduce pain and swelling.

·         If a bee stings you and it leaves a stinger behind, remove the stinger with tweezers or scrape it off.

·         If you find a tick, remove it as soon as you can. Use fine-point tweezers to grab hold of the tick as close to the skin as possible. Gently pull the tick straight out (without twisting) with steady pressure, being careful to remove it all.

·         Leeches may be present in damp rainforest conditions and attach themselves to your skin to suck your blood. Do not pull a leech off your skin as the bite is more likely to become infected. Salt, saltwater or vinegar will cause an actively sucking leech to fall off.

·         Once a tick or leech has been removed, clean the area with antiseptic or wash with soap and water. If the area is very swollen, very red or you notice breathing difficulties, this could indicate an allergic reaction. Seek urgent attention.

·         Rabies is a deadly animal disease caused by a virus. It can happen in wild animals or in dogs, cats or farm animals. People get it from the bite of an infected animal.

If you are travelling to a country where rabies is common and you will be there for a long time, ask your doctor about the rabies vaccine. If an animal bites you, wash the wound with soap and water and seek medical attention immediately.

Description: Regular hand-washing and/or using a hand sanitizer may significantly reduce the transmission of colds and flu.

Regular hand-washing and/or using a hand sanitizer may significantly reduce the transmission of colds and flu.

Fungal skin infections

Fungal infections occur more commonly in hot weather. These infections usually occur between the toes (athlete’s foot), around the groin area and on the body (ringworm).

Description: Fungal infections occur more commonly in hot weather.

Fungal infections occur more commonly in hot weather.

Moisture encourages fungal skin infections, which means you are more likely to pick one up if you don’t dry your skin properly after bathing or you are sweating a lot.

What you can do

To prevent fungal skin infections:

·         Wash frequently and dry your skin carefully after bathing.

·         Wear loose-fitting comfortable clothing.

·         Choose socks and underwear that allow your skin to breathe.

·         Wash clothes and underwear, bed linen and towels frequently and dry well.

·         Prevent athlete’s foot by alternating shoes every few days so they have time to dry out.

·         Wear thongs in communal change rooms and showers, and around swimming pools. If you do get a fungal skin infection, keep the affected area clean and dry. Apply an antifungal cream or powder, following the directions on the pack.

 

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