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Dr Megan Snyman’s guide on staying healthy this winter

Dr Megan Snyman advised residents to exercise regularly and follow a healthy diet.

As the winter months approach, concerns about the flu and Covid-19 resurface, accompanied by an abundance of information, including misinformation.

To provide clarity amid the noise, Dr Megan Snyman of Premier Health Centre in Blairgowrie, Randburg, shared invaluable insights on navigating this critical period. Additionally, Foster Mohale, the spokesperson for the National Department of Health, offered reassurance and dispelled rumours surrounding a purported new Covid-19 variant.

Dr Snyman explained the importance of preventive measures, starting with early vaccination against the flu, particularly for high-risk individuals. “The best and most reliable way to prevent getting the flu is to make sure you get the flu vaccine as early as you can in the season, especially for high-risk people such as the elderly or diabetics.”
Alongside vaccination, she underscored the significance of good hygiene practices, such as regular hand-washing, ventilation, and avoiding shared confined spaces with sick individuals.

She also noted that while other measures may not prevent the flu entirely, they can improve the severity and duration of symptoms.

Addressing concerns about new variants, Dr Snyman acknowledges the presence of mutations but reassures that they do not appear to pose an increased danger. “There are rumours of a new variant, and the CDC reports significant levels of KP2 [a new variant] as well as the JN1 variant from earlier this year. Though there are new mutations it does not appear to be more dangerous.”
Despite this, she emphasised that the symptoms remain similar, and there is no immediate cause for alarm.

In line with Dr Snyman’s perspective, Foster Mohale, the spokesperson for the National Department of Health, dismissed reports of a new Covid-19 variant. “The Department of Health has noted with concern an old fake news about Covid-19 Omicron XBB variant circulating on social media platforms advising people to wear face masks because of an alleged deadly and not easy to detect variant.”

He highlighted the dissemination of misleading information on social media platforms, aimed at causing panic and confusion. “This is a misleading message which first resurfaced during the peak of the pandemic without a traceable source.”
Mohale reassured the public that Covid-19 is circulating at relatively low levels, and there is no need for unnecessary panic. He also emphasised the importance of protective measures, including hand hygiene, to prevent the spread of respiratory infections, including influenza.

Dr Snyman visited the challenges in distinguishing between flu and Covid-19 symptoms, highlighting the need for medical attention if symptoms persist or worsen. “It is very difficult to distinguish between the flu and Covid-19, especially if it is influenza A which has a significant nausea and diarrhoea element. A test is the only way to know for sure.”
She recommended seeking timely medical care, especially for individuals experiencing prolonged symptoms.

Beyond vaccinations and hygiene, Dr Snyman advocated for holistic health practices to support immunity and overall well-being. “Nutrition is very important to a healthy immune system. I advise following a healthy diet and increasing your intake of vitamin C-rich foods such as fruits and vegetables.”
In addition to this, she recommended regular exercise to strengthen immunity, complemented by exposure to sunlight and fresh air.

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