7 sensible tips to combat the flu!

Caused by the flu virus, flu or influenza is an extremely common illness, especially during the winter months. The virus is spread from person to person through respiratory droplets (when people with the flu sneeze, cough or talk) but despite the ease with which the virus can spread, there are ways to ensure you’re not struck down with the flu this winter.

1. Get the flu vaccine

Some people think the flu vaccine gives you the flu; that’s not the case and although it’s not 100% effective, it can significantly help to reduce your risk of getting the flu. Vaccinations are recommended for several groups including people over 65, children aged six months and older and pregnant women.

Our medical director, Dr. Sylvester Mooney, says:

“Vaccination against the flu is recommended where there are large groups of people gathered together such as work places. The more people take the vaccination the better the group immunity and so the more difficult it becomes for the virus to spread to the few individuals who have not taken the vaccine.”

Dr Mooney goes on to say:

“Vaccination should occur in October or early November for optimal protection during peak season. All vaccinations expire roughly around June the following year so there really is immunization for the critical cold and flu season.”

2. Wash your hands

Good hygiene can be the difference between getting the flu and avoiding it. Wash hands regularly with soap and water, keep surfaces clean and cover your mouth with a tissue when you sneeze.

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3. Sick? Stay away!

If you know that someone is sick, keep your distance as much as possible. Don’t shake hands and avoid sharing towels, dishes or utensils.

4. Don’t touch!

Try to avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Tough to remember, especially for children, but this is how germs spread.

5. Clean up

A clean house, especially the kitchen, will help prevent the spread of flu germs. Sponges, dishcloths and chopping boards should be cleaned or changed regularly.

6. Maintain a healthy body

Making sure you get enough sleep, drink plenty of water and eat lots of leafy greens and fresh fruit will play a part in helping to prevent the flu. Regular exercise will also help to improve your immune system.

7. OTC remedies

Paracetamol can help ease aches and pains associated with the flu and reduce fever. Be careful not to exceed the recommended dosage. Your local pharmacist will recommend a cough remedy to help clear up those irritating dry, tickly coughs.

You can refer to the HSE for more information on flu.

If you require treatment for the flu you can chat to one of our doctors anytime, from anywhere.