St Leonards Medical Centre has offered 7 tips on how to combat this year’s flu season.
While we all enjoy the idea of a sick day here and there, having the flu is no laughing matter. If you or someone in your family gets sick, you may be required to take days off from work or other recreational activities! Flu may be particularly dangerous for certain people including, pregnant women, those with asthma, people over 65, young children, anyone with a depleted immune system. Getting vaccinated decreases the prevalence of influenza in the community and may mean the difference between someone who is more vulnerable having serious complications.
In the winter months rates of the flu increase drastically. In Australia the rates of flu peak in August, and the season goes from May to October.
Flu is a contagious illness that may affect the nose, lungs and throat, it may cause sore throat, stuffy nose, cough, fatigue and in some cases fever, headaches and more serious symptoms.
You may contract the flu through direct or indirect contact, meaning that it may not be enough just to avoid people who are sick. Transmission may occur through surfaces as well as through the air. On top of this a person who has the flu may be contagious a day before they show any symptoms!
What can you do to minimise the chance of getting sick this flu season?
- Wash your hands often and well! – This can help kill any germs on your hand before they make you sick, it will also help to prevent spread anything that you may have. Make sure that your children know good hand washing technique, using soap and water, washing thoroughly for approximately 20 seconds.
- Replace hand towels often – lingering germs are not spread from person to person
- Be careful when preparing food – if you are sick you may spread germs through food preparation areas. If you are feeling unwell, ask someone else if they can prepare food for the family and only serve yourself.
- Use hand sanitiser – You may not always be able to wash your hands easily. A small bottle of hand sanitiser will fit in your bag and keeping germs away easy.
- Rest – Without enough sleep, our immune systems are not able to work to their full strength. Make sure that you and your family are getting enough rest this winter season.
- Eat well – eating healthy foods can help our bodies and immune system to be better prepared to fight off any illnesses. What do they say? An apple a day keeps the doctor away!
- Get the flu vaccine! – The best and most effective way of keeping the flu away, this is an annual vaccine. It is available from April and may be free for some groups of people.