It has been warned that this winter’s flu season could be one of the worst seen for a long time. Thankfully, if you’re normally a healthy person, flu might knock you down for a few days but is not generally considered a serious problem. Flu can however, be dangerous for vulnerable people and those with weakened immune systems. Here’s how you can prevent catching flu this winter:
An annual flu vaccine can reduce the risk from catching seasonal flu, although it can’t protect from every strain of the virus. You can get a flu jab free from the NHS if you fall into one of the following categories:
- Over 65 years of age
- Any child or adult with a chronic underlying health condition
- Pregnant women
- Those with weakened immune systems
An annual nasal spray vaccination is now given to school children aged between 4 and 8.
The optimal time for having the vaccination is during the autumn. Such vaccines have been developed through a long process of testing and clinical trials before they become available to the public. For more information on Clinical Trial Volunteers, visit http://www.trials4us.co.uk/
There are some flu drugs, such as Tamiflu and Relenza which can be prescribed under some conditions:
- If you’re over 65 years of age
- Flu is particularly prevalent
- If you have an underlying medical condition
- You have been in direct contact with someone who has flu
For anyone, whether eligible for a jab or medication, maintaining high standards of personal hygiene is crucial to prevent the spread of flu. It is always advisable to follow these steps:
- Regularly wipe down surfaces that are touched a lot, such as keyboards, telephones, handles and chair arms, for example
- Wash hands often with both warm water and soap
- When coughing or sneezing, be sure to use a tissue to cover your mouth and nose
- Discard used tissues immediately into a bin
You’re more likely to catch a virus in moist weather conditions. Dull, misty and overcast conditions are more likely to create conditions for germs to hang around. Viruses can hang onto water droplets in the air, so if the weather is moist with little breeze, you’re more likely to breath it in.
Get lots of sleep
If you’re prone to staying up late and catching as few z’s as you can get away with, come the winter, you might want to make the effort to get a few early nights. If you let yourself become tired and a little run down, your immune system is compromised and can’t fight back as hard as it would normally. Aim to get between 8-10 hours a night to stay healthy.