Every year a wave of flu hits the country. Are you going to be struck down this time, or will you escape? In this article we offer you 10 tips to arm yourself against influenza, both to avoid catching it and to help ease the Flu symptoms (headache, coughing, muscle pain, fever, etc.) and speed your recovery if you do.
Preventing the flu
Flu cannot be totally prevented, but you can substantially reduce your risk of infection by following the tips below.
Flu is caused by the influenza virus. This spreads quickly in droplets of saliva, mucus and other bodily fluids produced by those infected. To catch the flu, all you have to do is breathe these in after someone near you coughs or sneezes. Or pick up the virus from a contaminated hand, surface or object – a door handle, say – and then touch your eyes, nose or mouth. Colds are passed on in the same way.
You can avoid infection by giving your immune system a helping hand, and by making sure you avoid contact with the virus.
1. Have a flu jab once a year. The vaccine stimulates your body to produce antibodies against the virus, making you less susceptible to flu
2. Wash your hands regularly with soap and warm water, and touch your mouth, nose and eyes as little as possible
3. Keep your home hygienic. Regularly clean ‘shared’ objects and surfaces like door handles, toilet flush levers and TV remote controls
4. Properly ventilate your home to prevent the virus spreading through the air
5. Make sure you’re in good physical condition. Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables, exercise regularly and get enough sleep
If you do catch the flu, the tips below should help ease the symptoms and speed up your recovery.
1. Rest and let the infection run its full course. Otherwise you could suffer prolonged fatigue later
2. Keep your body temperature as stable as possible, at a comfortable level. This leaves your body with more energy to fight the infection
3. Take a painkiller like paracetamol or aspirin to relieve your fever, headache and muscle pain
4. Keep well away from cigarette smoke. This irritates the lining of your airways
5. Consult your GP if you’re in a high-risk group for complications of Flu, if your fever persists or if you suffer tightness of the chest or feel constantly drowsy
refrences: thuisarts.nl, verkouden.nl, cm.be, news-medical.net, rivm.nl.
Because the common cold and flu are often confused, we list the symptoms of both below.