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How to prevent getting the flu

Posted in Personal Health 29 Oct, 2012

As this month gradually comes to an end, a number of key changes have occurred. These include the weekend’s merciless arrival of arctic winds and the clocks going back, along with the prompt appearance of coats and scarfs, all signifying the arrival of winter. And for many, that can only mean one thing, the arrival of the flu virus. Hence this time of year is generally when the virus is more prone to affect and thus spread.

The flu otherwise known as Influenza is a contagious virus that subsequently affects the respiratory system. Contrary to popular belief, the flu is different to the common cold, although symptoms experienced by both are often misdiagnosed with one and other. With a cold, symptoms generally affect the chest, throat, nose and sinuses and your ability to carry on with your daily routine is not affected. Although similar symptoms can be experienced with the flu, further symptoms can include, the chills, muscle aches, and a high fever. The flu is a more aggressive virus that can potentially lead to complications like pneumonia and if not effectively treated, for certain groups can be fatal. There are three different forms of Influenza A, B, C with Influenza A being the most common.

Here at OnlineClinic we have put together a list of methods, which if practiced could potentially help to keep symptoms at bay.

Wash your hands

It may sound repetitive but frequently washing your hands throughout the day will go a long way into preventing infections. Preventing the spread of germs therefore, is the most effective method in slowing down the spread of flu. Make sure to use both soap and water or a hand sanitizer and allow for at least 20 seconds to make sure that your hands are thoroughly cleansed.

Good Hygiene

As colds or the flu virus are generally spread from person to person, or the contact between a person and a surface, it is imperative to keep surfaces clean. Your computer’s keyboard, a telephone, pens, door handles, along with surfaces all harbour potential germs. Thus regularly cleaning such services with antibiotic wipes and an alcohol-based cleanser will prevent the likelihood of the spread of germs from coming into contact with such objects.

Get enough rest

Studies have shown that increasing your rest time and getting a substantial amount of sleep can greatly improve your health and well being, while also effectively decreasing your chances of getting sick.

Increase your exercise regime

Not only is frequent exercise good for effectively controlling your weight, managing or preventing a number of health conditions and diseases and improving energy levels, researchers have also credited the benefits of exercise with helping to build and strengthen your immune system. It is believed therefore, that a good exercise regime can potentially help to prevent the flu virus from developing.

Eating a healthy diet

‘You are what you eat’, and generally a healthy and balanced diet will mean a healthier immune system. Although, many have been sceptical about the benefits associated with the intake of vitamin C in preventing colds and the flu virus, eating a vast amount of fresh fruit and vegetables will effectively help to strengthen your immune system and in turn will help to fight off viral infections. Likewise a diet consisting of lean meats, fish, whole grains, nuts, low fat dairy and poultry, will increase your body’s supply of amino acids, iron and zinc. A deficiency in these minerals can weaken your immune system.

Get a flu vaccination

Studies have shown that having the flu jab can be an effective protection against the flu, although the level of protection can vary from person to person. The effects of flu can be more severe in certain groups and the elderly, young children, pregnant women, those with underling health conditions and those who have weaker immune systems are at a higher risk. It is therefore recommended by medical professional that those who find themselves in the at-risk group, be vaccinated annually.

Take anti-viral medication

If there are signs that the threat of flu is present, then it is generally recommended that you take antiviral medication such as Tamiflu to prevent the onset of symptoms if you think that you may have contracted the virus. Such circumstances will apply if; there is a lot of flu around, you are 65 or over, you have not been vaccinated, you suffer from any medical conditions that could potentially put you at risk of flu and you have had contact with somebody who has contracted the virus. Should you get the flu, Tamiflu can also effectively alleviate any unpleasant symptoms and if taken within 24 hours can greatly improve your recovery time.

To find out more about Influenza and flu treatments you can visit our Influenza page, which will provide more information on the flu virus.

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