Health Check: when is ‘the flu’ really a cold?... - CLL Support

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Health Check: when is ‘the flu’ really a cold? Excellent resource for tips on avoiding and managing respiratory infections


The difference between a cold and the flu is not always obvious, which is no doubt responsible for many that have had a flu vaccination claiming that they "subsequently came down with the flu from the vaccination".

I'd consider the following article by Frank Bowden,Professor of Medicine at the Australian National University, Canberra and Senior Staff Specialist Infectious Diseases at ACT Health a MUST READ. It's full of useful information on how to avoid respiratory infections, tips on how to manage them and common complications that can occur, along with an absolutely fantastic animated video showing how we are infected by respiratory viruses:

One of the respondents referenced this additional essential information on how to avoid respiratory and gastro-intestinal infections:

The 4 Principles of Hand Awareness

1. Wash your hands when they are dirty and BEFORE eating

2. DO NOT cough into your hands

3. DO NOT sneeze into your hands

4. Above all, DO NOT put your fingers into your eyes, nose or mouth

Remember these are the only portals of entry into the human body for ALL respiratory and gastro-intestinal infections!


Country farms in Australia often have their telecommunications provided via remote telephone exchanges linked via microwave towers. A flock of galahs or cockatoos can be seen approaching the right of the tower in this sunset photo.

4 Replies

Hi Neil,

one thing that worries me, living here in France, is that the french and english ex-pats here all do tend to lean forward to give the obligatory 2-4 cheek to cheek kisses to each other and me as well. What is the likelihood of picking up a cold or flu virus/infection by this method of greeting? Of course they think you are rude if you do not do the obligatory with them. I am talking about friends, not complete strangers when a handshake suffices! Thanks

PS I do also have MDS, and on a recent full mid section organ scan 2 weeks ago was told I have an enlarged spleen. Still waiting to see doctor when he gets my results back from hosp - but I am aware the spleen is what help white blood cells and they fight infection. Both red and white cells are slightly abnormal but to best of my knowledge from my diagnosis 2 years ago I'm not in a serious state.

AussieNeilAdministrator in reply to SAMBS

I feel for you SAMBS, but I'm not sure which is worse; shaking hands with someone who has just coughed or sneezed into their hand or being kissed on the cheek by someone who is ill. If you have low immunity, (perhaps in your situation best assessed by how often you are ill and how long it takes you to get better), I'd be very tempted to wear a mask in such situations and see if that puts off the friendly Gallic greeting. Otherwise, I'd be holding my breath during the greeting and carefully washing as soon as I could without causing offence.

You are probably aware that in addition to storing white blood cells (particularly neutrophils) for quick release to fight infections, your enlarged spleen may be contributing to your MDS and is sometimes removed when other treatments fail to help. I'm pleased to hear you aren't in a serious state and hope that is confirmed when you see your doctor.


SAMBS in reply to AussieNeil

Thanks Neil - prob not relevant but I'm on HU / Headway because I had an aneurysm/brain hemorrhage here mar 2013 - 1st time in 15 months since discharge from hosp getting proper medical help so my new Doctor decided to make sure I had all relevant tests for both conditions. I do also refuse to take up the annual flu job - in case. Thanks for the tips I will follow them. I have no medication for MDS just quarterly blood tests to monitor red/white cells.

Thanks Neil.

I must remember to use the words recommended “acute coryzal rhinopharyngitis”..

It certainly sounds a lot more impressive..!


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