ask an ex­pert

Health-care pros tell us their pa­tients’ most-asked ques­tions. This is­sue, our ex­perts talk about im­mune health and sup­port­ing a friend with men­tal ill­ness.

Canadian Living - - Great Reads - Send your health ques­tions to cl.read­[email protected]

What should I do to stay healthy this win­ter? Dr. Pa­tel says

“Get­ting the flu shot and choos­ing a healthy life­style are your first lines of de­fence against cold and flu. Strengthen your im­mune sys­tem with the fol­low­ing strate­gies. • Get the flu shot as early as you can. In­fluenza can af­fect ev­ery­one, but chil­dren un­der five and adults 65 years and older, es­pe­cially, are more at risk from de­vel­op­ing com­pli­ca­tions, such as pneu­mo­nia. • Wash your hands A 75% of­ten larger with warm soapy wa­ter; back* clean pro­vides and dis­in­fect sur­faces up and to shared 10 hours items. • Man­age stress of and pro­tec­tion, aim for a good night’s sleep so you of seven can to nine hours. Stress sleep and through poorqual­ity sleep can the weaken night. your im­mune sys­tem, leav­ing you more prone to in­fec­tions. vs. Al­ways Ul­tra Thin Reg­u­lar with wings © Proc­ter • Stay & hy­drated Gam­ble, 2018 and limit or avoid di­uret­ics, such as cof­fee and al­co­hol. • Get out­side to re­duce your time spent in re­cir­cu­lated air. • If you do get sick, don’t tough it out: Stay at home, rather than risk in­fect­ing oth­ers.”

How can I help a friend who’s been strug­gling with men­tal ill­ness? Dr. Her­sh­ler says

“Pay at­ten­tion to changes in your loved one’s mood and typ­i­cal be­hav­iours. Be­fore you ap­proach some­one who you think may be men­tally ill, con­sult other close friends or fam­ily mem­bers for per­spec­tive—do your takes match? If so, check in with your friend to see how she’s do­ing and men­tion you’ve no­ticed changes; ask if she needs help or wants to talk. Then, fol­low up reg­u­larly, since she may not have the mo­ti­va­tion, en­ergy or self-es­teem to reach out. Talk to your friend about a care plan, whereby you and other friends and rel­a­tives can be part of a net­work of sup­port with re­spon­si­bil­i­ties such as find­ing the right as­sis­tance and treat­ment; at­tend­ing ap­point­ments; keep­ing track of symp­toms; pro­mot­ing a healthy life­style; and en­cour­ag­ing so­cial ac­tiv­ity. Im­por­tantly, know what’s avail­able in terms of help lines and emer­gency care. The Cana­dian Men­tal Health As­so­ci­a­tion [cmha.ca] has great in­for­ma­tion on fam­ily and care­giver sup­port.”

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