We have all experienced a common cold before and know how dreadful it can make you feel, but have you had flu before? The flu can feel ten times worse and can’t be cured by sipping hot lemon and honey consistently through the day. There’s no ‘powering through’ when it comes to the flu as it can be more severe in certain people, such as anyone aged 65 or over or anyone with underlying health conditions such as heart or respiratory disease or a weakened immune system.
The best thing to do is avoid catching the flu in the first place, so we’ve put together some of our top tips on how you can make sure you aren’t struck down:
Wash your hands
Washing your hands with soap and warm water and thoroughly cleaning them for at least 20 seconds will get rid of most bacteria and viruses that could be lurking on your skin. Do this before and after meals, every time you use the toilet and after you sneeze or cough. You can also carry a small pot of hand sanitiser with you if you can’t get access to hand washing facilities while out and about.
Avoid close contact
During flu season it is best to avoid crowded public places as much as possible. A&E departments and doctor’s waiting rooms are also best avoided as these can be rife with virus.
However, this can be tricky, so if you do come into contact with large crowds of people or need to pay the hospital or doctor’s surgery a visit, make sure you wash your hands or make use of that hand sanitiser mentioned previously.
Also avoid touching potentially contaminated surfaces, such as restaurant tables, as the flu virus can linger on smooth surfaces for as long as 24 hours.
Maintain a healthy diet
A weakened immune system means you’re more susceptible to catching the flu, so make sure your immune system is strong by eating a good diet rich in protein, including fish, eggs, yogurt and nuts.
Have a good sleep routine
Sleep is when your body repairs and recharges itself, so if you’re not getting enough sleep, your body isn’t getting enough time to regroup. The average adult needs between six and eight hours per night.
Get a flu jab
Our number one top tip is to get yourself a flu jab!
If you or a loved-one are aged 65 or over, then you’re eligible for a free flu jab on the NHS and should book in asap.
Health and social care workers are also eligible for an NHS flu jab to help protect them and others around them from catching the flu.
Our service users’ and carers’ health are our top priorities so our carers are always encouraged to get a flu jab to stop the spread of infection and as part of our care plans, service users will be reminded to get them too.
Even if you’re not eligible for a free flu jab, most supermarkets and chemists now offer them at a cost, which we certainly think is worth paying in order to avoid the dreaded flu.