The Conversation

Your weekly dose of evidence

Most of us get around two to three colds per year, usually in winter when we're stuck together indoors and the cool weather allows viruses to stick around for longer.

When it comes to getting sick, there's always an element of bad luck involved, especially for those of us with kids in daycare or who catch public transport. But as Fern Koay explains, looking after ourselves and taking time to eat well, exercise and get enough sleep can pay off. 

If you're already sick, do any of the supplements we're sold actually work? Once you have a cold, taking vitamin C won't shorten a cold or make it less severe, writes Clare Collins, but zinc might make a small difference to the duration.

Fron Jackson-Webb

Senior Health + Medicine Editor/Chief of Staff

Winter bugs are impossible to escape. Shutterstock

A strong immune system helps ward off colds and flus, but it’s not the only factor

Hui-Fern Koay, University of Melbourne; Jesseka Chadderton, University of Melbourne

Illness often strikes when you’re stressed at work, not sleeping properly, or you’ve been out partying a little too much. Here's why.

Once you have a cold, taking vitamin C supplements won’t do anything. From

Health Check: should I take vitamin C or other supplements for my cold?

Clare Collins, University of Newcastle

From vitamin C to chicken soup, there are many supposed remedies for treating a cold. Here's what the evidence says.

Winter health: from the archives

Health Check: how long should you stay away when you have a cold or the flu?

Nadia Charania, Auckland University of Technology

Most adults get two to three colds per year, while the flu is less common but more severe. Here's how to stop spreading them to others.

Science or Snake Oil: will horseradish and garlic really ease a cold?

Ken Harvey, Monash University

Complementary medicines are increasingly invoking traditional use when the science does not add up. Horseradish and garlic products provide a good example.

Science or Snake Oil: does EASEaCOLD really help to shorten your cold?

Kim Murphy, Monash University

We asked an immunologist to assess the evidence for a popular cold and flu herbal remedy. She concluded there isn't enough evidence to support its use.

Should I get the flu shot if I’m pregnant?

Jane E Frawley, University of Technology Sydney; Elizabeth Sullivan, University of Technology Sydney

Pregnant women should get the flu shot to protect themselves, and their child for the first 6 months of life.

Thinking about getting your child the flu vaccine? Here’s what you need to know

Christopher Blyth, University of Western Australia; Kristine Macartney, University of Sydney

The flu vaccine isn't perfect but it's the best way to protect against these potentially harmful viruses. Most children aged six months to five years are eligible for a free vaccine in 2018.

Health Check: what causes chilblains and how can I prevent them?

Michelle Rodrigues, St Vincent's Hospital Melbourne

A "how to" on avoiding and resolving chilblains this winter.



Interactive: how have your family’s fortunes changed? Use this drag-and-drop tool to find out

Sunanda Creagh, The Conversation

Use our drag-and-drop interactive to find out how incomes, financial wellbeing, and housing stress has changed since 2001 for various 'family types', including singles or couples without children.

While the gender gap is narrowing, women still do seven hours more housework per week than men (and that doesn’t include the child-caring). Shutterstock

Sorry, men, there’s no such thing as ‘dirt blindness’ – you just need to do more housework

Leah Ruppanner, University of Melbourne; Brendan Churchill, University of Melbourne

New data show that while the gender gap on housework is narrowing, women still carry the load.

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