Syndrome affecting Aussies in summer

Syndrome affecting Aussies in summer

Australia might be slowly emerging from the Covid pandemic, but there could be another dangerous public health issue around the corner.

Australians didn’t get their regular immune system “training session” this year and will be susceptible to an unfortunate summer syndrome as a result, a doctor has warned.

Sydney scientist Dr Vincent Candrawinata coined the syndrome “winsum” after noting a higher prevalence of colds, chest infections and flu in the community coming into summer.

He attributed the trend to people not being exposed to elements they normally would be outside of lockdown during winter months, as well as the onset of La Nina conditions.

“Now that the whole country is reopening, when we go out it’s almost like our body is in shock in terms of having to deal with being exposed to all the germs,” Dr Vincent told news.com.au.

“A lot of people are not considering that their immune system has not been training and preparing for the exposure to germs other people are carrying around.”

With shopping centres back open and hosting thousands of people each day, the public will be more prone to not only getting sick, but having difficulty shaking illness off, Dr Vincent said.

“That is what’s becoming a public health issue now in Australia, especially because of the change in weather,” he said.

Dr Vincent said this year was more problematic for people’s immune systems than last year due to there having been stricter Covid isolation rules in place.

La Nina was another contributor, given it had dropped temperatures lower than typically expected for the start of summer, creating a “perfect storm that attacks the immune system”.

Less movement, increased alcohol consumption, and more junk food would have also taken a toll on how prepared people’s immune systems were coming out of lockdown, Dr Vincent said.

“All of these things really destroy our body’s ability to fight off diseases,” he said.

Results from a small survey he conducted revealed that 64 per cent of participants had been ill, or had a member of their household be ill, after lockdown was lifted.

Just 24 per cent got sick after the first lockdown ended in 2020.

His findings were further bolstered by a 25 per cent increase in sales of Dr Vincent’s Renovatio-branded Immunity Plus+ tablets in November, compared to June and July.

Typically the immunity support product’s sales skyrocket in winter months as people attempt to ward off illness, so Dr Vincent was surprised to see that happen coming into summer.

The bizarre trend inspired Dr Vincent’s creation of the term winsum to describe illnesses in summer months that typically having higher prominence in winter.

“I think people naturally care more about supporting their immune system in winter but not necessarily summer,” he said.

“But we literally missed our training session for our immune system in winter. So now more than ever we need to pay attention to our health and in particular, our immune system.”

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