Winter is here, and we all know that with winter comes colds and flus. Although Covid has been at the forefront for the last 2 years and we have not seen influenza like we normally would, experts are warning of a bumper flu season for 2022.

With our borders closed, the flu rates here in New Zealand plummeted by an incredible 99% in 2020, with the only cases in the last two years being in managed isolation. Now that the borders are open again, we are likely to see a dramatic increase in both influenza and other nasty viruses.

Keeping your family safe and well all starts at home. Below is some important information and some steps you can take to ensure you are best protected against the winter bugs that are to come.

Know The Difference Between A Common Cold and Influenza

Although cold and influenza symptoms are strikingly similar, one is much worse than the other. On average, a person will catch 2-4 colds per year, of which they’ll probably have a runny or stuffed nose, sore throat, tiredness, and maybe some sneezing. Whereas with the flu, adults typically get the flu twice per decade and, along with the standard cold symptoms, they will also find themselves with terrible body and muscle aches, a fever, headaches, vomiting, and severe fatigue.

So, although having a cold can be frustrating and painful for some, the flu is often much worse to be hit with.

Common Myths About Colds and The Flu

There are many myths that are floated around when it comes to colds and flus. Determining fact from fiction can help you to minimise your risk and symptoms as well as increase your chances of fighting any viruses off.

You’re likely to have heard your parents tell you to stay warm as a child, or else “you’ll get a cold”. But, truthfully, this is not the case – your temperature has nothing to do with the cold, which is a virus. Keeping warm in winter will definitely be good for your body, but it’s not going to determine whether or not you or your children will catch a cold.

Another myth is that your immune system needs to be weak for you to catch a cold. Having a strong immune system is always beneficial and will help you get better quicker when sick, but even those with strong immune systems manage to get sick!

And lastly, if you do catch a cold or flu, arriving at the doctor’s with the hope of being sent away with antibiotics will do you no good, much to popular belief. Antibiotics are great for a number of things, but as they fight bacteria, and the cause of colds and flus is a virus, they will not help you in your recovery.

How To Avoid Catching A Cold and Winter Flu


This is common knowledge (even more so now that we have been dealing with Covid for 2 years), but hand hygiene is the first line of defence against a virus. Washing your hands regularly (and properly!) is one of the simplest way to fight off any bugs lurking around.

Winter Flu Vaccine

As the old saying goes, “Prevention is better than a cure”. A visit to your family doctor to receive the flu shot before winter arrives is a great way to prevent your family from falling sick. Unfortunately, as is the case with a lot of vaccines, they do not offer guaranteed prevention due to there being so many different types of winter flu viruses. But at least you will know you have done what you can to protect yourself.

Get Plenty Of Sleep

Sleep is essential to our health – both physically and mentally and more importantly, our immune systems. Some recent research found that those who recorded less than 7 hours of sleep a night were 3 times more likely to catch a cold than those who slept at least 8 hours. What a great excuse to sleep in that extra hour when you can!

How Installing A Heat Pump Can Help Reduce The Risks

The flu can cause serious complications for some; conditions such as pneumonia and bronchitis can present themselves after a flu infection, as well as chronic health problems, such as asthma, can be exasperated.

Installing a heat pump in your home can reduce the risks to you and your family of contracting an airborne virus. A heat pump helps to circulate clean, fresh air which is essential, especially for children, and many heat pumps now contain an advanced, multi-stage air filtration system.

One of these systems is called the Plasma Quad Filter System, designed by Mitsubishi Electric. This air filtration system layers an anti-allergy enzyme filter with an electrostatic plasma field which effectively removes four major pollutants in the air; bacteria, viruses, allergens, and dust. Featuring high-performance two-stage plasma technology, the Plasma Quad Plus Filter works like an electrical curtain – catching and neutralising all the nasties in the air, even those up to 20 times smaller than the width of a human hair!

Not only does a heat pump provide clean and fresh air in your home, but it also, as we all know, provides warmth and comfort. With the World Health Organisation recommending a minimum indoor temperature of 18°C for healthy people (or 20°C for ‘at risk’ groups), to avoid respiratory illnesses and premature mortality, having adequate heating in your home is vital. With humidity control to combat excess moisture such as condensation and humidity, and not relying on oxygen to operate, heat pumps are a superior choice when it comes to heating.

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