Fighting the flu

10 Oct 2016 Chris James   Health and wellbeing

With winter well and truly upon us, it's time to accept the dreaded reality that flu season is here. It's that time of year when we begin to shudder at our co-workers with every innocent sneeze, or wincing in mild horror whenever somebody pulls the Strepsils out of the drawer. It's time to start preparing ourselves for the inevitable. As such, we take a look at the best ways to fight the flu this winter.

Prevention is better than cure

There are ways you can try to avoid catching the dreaded flu virus. You should make sure that your immune system is fit and healthy during the winter months when the virus is rife. A free flu vaccine is also available for free on the NHS if you meet the following criteria:

  • Anyone over the age of 65
  • Pregnant women
  • Children and adults with an underlying health condition, especially long-term heart or lung disease
  • Children and adults with weakened immune systems

Dosing up

As you probably know, the flu is caused by a virus so it cannot be treated with antibiotics. Sadly, this means that the flu is something you just have to ride out, but there are various pain relief medications and decongestants you can use to alleviate symptoms. If you're suffering with a sore throat as well, throat lozenges are a great way to soothe the pain.

Keep hydrated

It's important that you keep yourself adequately hydrated and get plenty of fluids, particularly if you're suffering with diarrhoea or vomiting. Ideally, you should be drinking water, but fruit juices or electrolyte beverages are also fine. Avoid caffeinated drinks whenever possible as these can have diuretic effects. It goes without saying that alcohol is your worst enemy when you have the flu as it'll further dehydrate you and make you all the more tired.

Rest up

The flu can knock you for six, so it's important that you listen to your body and rest up. It's also important that you try to get a good night's sleep every night as a proper sleeping pattern of 6-8 hours a night helps to keep the immune system working as normal. It's also worth remembering that you're infectious for the first day that you're symptoms are present until up to seven days later. To reduce the risk of you infecting others, it's best to avoid work or school for this period, which will give you all the more time to adequately rest and recover!

If you want to know more about fighting the flu, get in touch with our pharmacist.

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