The season of colds and flu is almost here, and there are some simple ways to help avoid getting sick this winter.
AMA President, Dr Rosanna Capolingua, said today the most effective way to help protect against catching a nasty cold or the flu is good personal hygiene.
"Upper respiratory tract infections and influenza are transferred by small droplets and these are readily transferred as air borne when someone coughs or sneezes. If you can, try to avoid being in the line of fire," Dr Capolingua said.
"Other good tips for avoiding the flu are to keep fit and healthy, don't smoke, get plenty of sleep and exercise, and eat a balanced diet.
"Staying healthy and not getting run down will help."
Flu vaccines are readily available and free for everyone over the age of 65 years and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders over 50 or between 15 and 49 years old who are medically at risk.
For every one else, your doctor will advise you to have a flu vaccine if you are at risk.
Pneumococcal vaccine is also available to protect against the most common cause of bacterial respiratory tract infections and pneumonia. Ask your doctor.
"If you have already caught a cold or flu, covering your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough helps to reduce transfer," Dr Capolingua said.
"Dispose of used tissues or handkerchiefs, and washing your hands is important. Try to avoid sharing personal items, clean any surfaces that you contaminate when you come into contact, and avoid close contact with other people.
"If you have the flu, get plenty of rest, drink lots of fluids, take paracetamol if appropriate, and stay home.
"Antibiotics will not help with a viral infection, but if you are not getting better in a couple of days, please see your doctor," she said.
"Special care must always be taken of children, the elderly, and those more susceptible due to chronic or debilitating disease or conditions."
Dr Capolingua warned that cough and cold medicines should never be given to young children aged under two years without the advice of a doctor.