The Cost of Flu

Flu season is fast approaching, so boosting your immune system should be part of your health investment plan to see you through the cold and flu season. Each year, millions of people become ill with the flu, which often means sick days, out-of-pocket costs for doctors’ visits, additional money spent on over-the-counter and prescription medications and an overall run down feeling.

This is according to PharmaChoice spokesperson, pharmacist, Liezl van Tonder, who says that without the proper immune support or protection, flu can end up being very costly.

She says that the old adage, ‘prevention is better than cure,’ rings true and that boosting your immune system is the best way to take pre-emptive measures to ensure your immune system is in top form.

“When our immune systems are robust and the viral exposure is relatively limited, we shrug off any attacks, but when the viral contact is repeated, or when our immune systems are compromised at the change of season, or in the cold of winter, we succumb, and get a cold, or flu,” van Tonder says. “Thus it is imperative that your immune system is robust before the onset of cold and flu season.”

She highlights the following prevention rules to ensure you minimise the impact of colds and flu on your life and wallet:

  • Get plenty of sleep;
  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet;
  • Keep hydrated and exercising;
  • Wash your hands often;
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick;
  • Don’t touch your eyes, nose or mouth;
  • Consider the flu shot, an effective way to stop flu transmission and maintain productivity in the workplace, by ensuring this absenteeism from the workplace could be reduced by as much as 78% with vaccination;

She also suggests a maintenance plan of a multi-nutritional immune system booster like ViralChoice. “Take two a day with food and at least half a glass of water for eight weeks. Give it a break for a week and then start again,” she adds. “ViralChoice is a powerhouse of vitamins and antioxidants and contains some of the most highly-rated boosters provided by nature.”

“It works in two ways; by helping reduce the susceptibility to cold and flu infection and aids in recovery by reducing the duration and severity of colds and flu,” van Tonder adds. “It will go a long way in ensuring you maintain optimal health during the throws of cold and flu season.”

Reasons to invest in your immune system – Flu season costs the SA economy in excess of R2 billion annually. Other interesting cost facts include:

  • Half a million people will be hospitalised and on average 36,000 die annually;
  • The average cost of a flu shot is R60 if you are not on a medical aid;
  • Worldwide every year, 40 million days of work and school are missed because of colds;
  • An insured South African can expect to pay on average R1000 fighting the flu;
  • The average cost of a GP consultation in the private healthcare sector was approximately R250 per visit in 2012;
  • It will cost almost R30 a week for tissues during a bout of cold infection in order to catch the 3,000 infectious droplets travelling at 160 km’s per hour through the air;
  • 1 out of 3 people will end up spending R250 – R500, the average cost of over-the-counter cold & flu relief medication assisting in ‘recovery efforts’;
  • The average adult suffers 200 colds in his or her lifetime, which means by the time you reach 75, you would have spent two years of your life sneezing. That is a lot of opportunities for serious illness — and just as many to prevent one.

“The journey to good health begins with the right choice so ensure your body gets the essential building blocks you need for healthy immune function,” says van Tonder.

“In healthy adults, colds and flu bugs are often no more than a costly inconvenience, but they can make you vulnerable to more sinister ailments, especially respiratory tract infections. So take them seriously, and have a sniffle-free winter.”

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