Seaford is predicted to be among South Australia’s colds and flu hot spots this winter.

The seaside suburb was named alongside Clovelly Park and Torrensville as one of three suburbs forecast to have the most colds and flu symptoms in 2024.

One in three Australians are tipped to suffer a cold or the flu this winter.

The predictions were made after modelling commissioned by Pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson on behalf of its Codral brand.

The data was developed and the numbers crunched by healthcare analytics company IQVIA. 

Cold and flu season starts early

Much of the data gathered and analysed is based around February and March retail sales of products for the relief of cold and flu. 

Flu vaccination rates are also considered along with weather forecasts and reports of cold and flu cases, although those numbers are seen as unreliable because most go unreported.

The data indicated that the cold and flu season was already well underway by the last week of March.

Sickness levels were reportedly double what they were for the same time last year.

But it remained unclear whether the March start to the season would lead to more sickness this winter or whether it is merely headed for an early peak.

“This year, based on the current level of medicine sales that we are seeing, we are expecting to see a year that is at least as potent as 2023, if not more,” said IQVIA Principal Sashi Anantham.

A reported 300,000 Australians fell sick with influenza last year.

However, Anantham advised people not to panic but rather be ready.

“It shouldn’t be a major concern, it is largely just an inconvenience,” he said.

“Time off work, kids at home from day care and so on. 

“It is really about just being prepared to deal with all of that inconvenience.”

How to protect yourself against colds and flus

Sometimes, a virus just comes along that has your name on it.

But the reality is there are a number of proactive steps we can all take to reduce our chances of contracting colds and flu, especially when we know they are most prevalent during the winter months.

Here are some practices you can adopt or continue to observe:

Maintain a balanced diet

This should include:

Leafy green vegetables and citrus fruits – rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that boost immune function.

Lean sources of protein – fish, poultry, beans, lentils and tofu contain amino acids important for immune function and tissue repair.

Healthy fats – olive oil, avocado, nuts and seeds benefit heart health and reduce inflammation.

Probiotics – yogurt and other fermented foods support gut health, boosting your immune system.

Superfoods – garlic, ginger, turmeric and green tea all support the immune system and help prevent winter ills.

Keep hydrated

Drinking enough water helps flush out toxins and regulate a variety of bodily functions including the immune system.

Men should aim for 2.6 litres daily, while women need 2.1 litres.

Take vitamins and supplements

Talk to your doctor before taking regular vitamins and supplements to ensure you are observing the correct dosages.

The following vitamins and supplements are your body’s best defences against nasty bugs:

  • Vitamin D
  • Zinc
  • Vitamin C
  • Elderberry
  • Selenium
  • Curcumin
  • Echinacea
  • B complex vitamins

Exercise regularly 

Regular exercise stimulates the productivity of immune cells and antibodies.

It also improves blood circulation, allowing immune cells to move about the body more freely.

Aim for about 45 minutes daily.

Get enough sleep

Everyone needs between seven and nine hours quality sleep to maximise the benefits for their immune system.

Our body releases cytokines during sleep which help promote cellular repair and growth and regulate our immune responses.

It also reduces stress and inflammation which puts our immune systems under pressure.

Reduce your stress

High levels of long term stress weaken our immune system, increasing inflammation and leaving us vulnerable to a wide range of health issues including colds and flus.

Regular exercise and stress management techniques such as deep breathing, yoga and tai chi are a great way to reduce your stress levels and boost your immune system.

Reduce alcohol intake

Increased alcohol intake is associated with a weakened immune system because it impairs the production and function of immune cells.

Men and women should drink no more than four standard drinks on any one day and limit themselves to a maximum of 10 per week.

Aim for at least two alcohol free days every week.

Wash your hands regularly

Many illnesses including colds and flus are transmitted not just through droplets in the air but via contact with contaminated surfaces.

When contaminated hands then come into contact with your face, you put yourself at serious risk of infection.

Wash your hands whenever you touch common, high traffic surfaces and after shaking hands with other people.

And if you are sick, stay at home! No-one wants your germs.

Avoid sharing personal items

Germs are easily transmitted when sharing personal items such as drinking vessels, utensils, cosmetics and toothbrushes.

You also put yourself at high risk when sharing food which comes into contact with other people’s hands or utensils.

Consider flu vaccination

The Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care estimates flu vaccine effectiveness to be between 40-60 per cent in terms of preventing disease and complications.

That effectiveness has been known to wane after several months meaning someone who had the shot early in the season is vulnerable to illness late in the season.

Flu vaccination is particularly worth considering for the young, the elderly and pregnant women.

Talk to your doctor about the wisdom of vaccinating against the flu.

Book an appointment

There are lots of things to love about winter.

The rise of colds and flu cases is not among them.

But being prepared and taking positive action to reduce your likelihood of falling ill makes great common sense, not just for you but your whole family.

That message is even more important for residents of Seaford, predicted to be one of Adelaide’s hot spots for colds and flu over the coming months.

Now is the time to make positive change to protect yourself.

At AHA Clinics, doctors keep abreast of the latest information and trends of the flu season.

They can advise you how to significantly reduce your chances of becoming struck down with one of this winter’s nasty bugs.

Most people who contract influenza will simply need rest, maintain plenty of fluids and won’t need to see their doctor.

But anyone at high risk of serious illness and with flu-like symptoms should make an appointment as soon as possible to avoid complications from the disease.

Book an appointment here today at either our Seaford Road Day and Night Clinic or our Seaford Meadows Day and Night Clinic.