Each year Africans catch more than one billion colds, making the cold virus the most common infectious disease in the African content. The average African adult typically has two to four colds each year, while children may have up to 12. Colds account for more school absences and missed work than any other illness and are the number one reason people visit their physicians.
According to Pan African Medical Journal (2013), In Kenya, Flu tends to be highest during wet months: March-April, October-November and cold month of July. During the Flu seasons, patients suffer adverse effects of Flu symptoms causing absenteeism from work and school, which causes downtime and a general lack of productivity.
In Kenya as well as other developing countries, people are not well informed about the negative impact of Influenza, its epidemiology, as well as how to prevent it. As a country, we should thus promote public health interventions and educate people on prevention of Influenza.
Kim Fay, a local based manufacturer of personal care, tissue, & hygiene products in collaboration with Dr. Warurua Mugo, a Paediatrician/Pulmonologist discussed prevention and hygienic Flu management for babies, school children, families and workplaces. Mr. Hartaj Bains Sales and Marketing Director, Kim Fay EA Ltd, also stepped in to provide effective Flu management tips derived from years of research and innovation in hygiene products. Simple strategies such as using good quality tissue instead of a handkerchief can make all the difference between quick recovery and prolonged Flu downtime.
According to Dr. Warurua , It’s a widespread misconception that colds are caused by bacteria. Colds are actually triggered by viruses, which means if your physician prescribes you an antibiotic, it will be absolutely useless. The most common way cold viruses are spread is not from being around coughing or sneezing, or walking barefoot in the rain, but rather from hand-to-hand contact. For instance, someone with a cold blows their nose then shakes your hand or touches surfaces that you also touch. Cold viruses can live on pens, computer keyboards, coffee mugs, and other objects for hours, so it’s easy to come into contact with such viruses during daily life.
People often confuse colds and flu. They are different, but you might have some of the same symptoms. Most people get a cold several times a year. On the contrary, people get the flu only once every few years. The flu is caused by an influenza virus. Most people get the flu when they breathe in tiny airborne droplets from the coughs or sneezes of someone who has the flu. The flu is an infection of the nose, throat, and lungs. It spreads easily. You can also catch the flu if you touch something with the virus on it, and then touch your mouth, nose, or eyes. Flu symptoms will often start quickly. You can start to feel sick about 1 to 7 days after you come in contact with the virus. Most of the time symptoms appear within 2-3 days.
The flu spreads easily. It can affect a large group of people in a very short amount of time. For example, students and co-workers get sick within 2 or 3 weeks of the flu’s arrival in a school or workplace. The first symptom is a fever between 102 and 106°F. An adult often has a lower fever than a child. Other common symptoms include:
- Body aches.
- Flushed face.
- Lack of energy.
- Nausea and vomiting.
The fever, aches, and pains begin to go away on days 2 through 4. But new symptoms occur, including:
- Dry cough.
- Increased symptoms that affect breathing.
- Runny nose (clear and watery).
- Sore throat.
Most symptoms go away in 4 to 7 days. The cough and tired feeling may last for weeks. Sometimes, the fever comes back. Some people may not feel like eating. The flu can make asthma, breathing problems, and other long-term illnesses and conditions worse. Sometimes, you can get a virus that makes you throw up or have diarrhea. Some people call this the “stomach flu.” This is a misleading name because this virus is not the actual flu. The flu mostly affects your nose, throat, and lungs.
Washing your hands frequently is one of the easiest ways to wipe out germs and viruses and reduce your chances of becoming sick. Thorough washing and proper hand drying truly is an important preventative measure, as you are at far greater risk of passing on an infection by shaking someone’s hand than by sharing a kiss. One report found that regular hand washing may be even more effective than drugs in preventing the spread of respiratory viruses, such as influenza.
Simple strategies such as using good quality tissue instead of a handkerchief can make all the difference between quick recovery and prolonged Flu downtime. A research conducted by the University of Westminster examined the transmission of viruses using various hand-drying methods. The study indicated that single use paper towels helps minimise the spread of viruses and is the most effective way to dry your hands in the washroom as they disperse fewer microorganisms into the environment than jet air dryers. This helps reduce the risk of viruses being blown into the face of small children accompanying adults in a washroom. European Tissue Paper (2016) Symposium demonstrated that warm air and jet air dryers have a greater potential to contaminate washrooms by spreading bacteria into the air and onto users and bystanders. Wash or sanitise your hands immediately after handling the soiled tissues and wipes.
It is highly recommended that you wash your hands after blowing your nose or coughing. If you can’t wash your hands, you could consider using an alcohol-based hand-wipes, which research suggests will kill bacteria and viruses. It is critical that all tissue is single use and that it should be immediately disposed in a trash can. This is crucial in workplaces where contamination is an issue. Every sneeze transmits viruses for up to 2-3 meters. If not contained with a tissue, it is obviously going to be transmitted.
KIM FAY has variety of products, all designed for various uses. Toilet paper is designed to disperse water and is easily managed through the waste water system. Serviettes are designed to wipe your mouth after eating, therefore they’re a bit tougher than toilet tissue. When you use a Serviette to blow your nose it may not be as gentle as a facial tissue, which is designed to be much softer on your skin.
Kim Fay has uniquely designed and affordable pocket tissues suitable for both men and women. From a hygiene perspective, tissues are more effective in preventing the transmission of Flu Viruses and germs in general, to your loved ones at home and colleagues at work. When you factor the cost of visiting the doctor, buying prescription medicine and even the cost of downtime from your business, it only makes sense to invest in high quality tissues to help maintain hygiene throughout the year and keep Flu at bay during peak seasons.
However, the key to remember is that just being exposed to a cold virus does not have to mean that you’ll catch a cold. If your immune system is operating at its peak, it should actually be quite easy for you to fend off the virus without ever getting sick. On the other hand, if your immune system is impaired, it’s akin to having an open-door policy for viruses—they’ll easily take hold in your body. So the simple and short answer is, you catch a cold due to a poorly functioning immune system. There are many causes of a weakened immune system, but the more common factors are:
- Eating too much sugar and too many grains.
- Not getting enough rest.
- Ineffectively managing emotional stresses in your daily life.
- Vitamin D deficiency.
- Any combination of the above.