Everything you need to know about winter flu

box of tissues and a mug

There are many things that come to mind when we think of the winter season. Cold weather. Occasional snow. Wooly hats. Unfortunately, we also associate this chilly time of year with the dreaded flu. Realistically, this cold wintery weather isn’t going to go away anytime soon. Therefore, now is as good a time as ever to clue yourself up about the winter flu. In this article, we will be providing you with an insight as to why flu is more common during this time of year, what the symptoms of flu are and how you can stay flu-free throughout this winter season.

Why do we get flu in winter?

While you can catch the flu at any time of the year, it seems that this particular illness is more prevalent throughout the colder months of winter. There are a number of explanations for why this might be. Flu is caused by the influenza virus, which gains entry to the body through our noses by clinging onto to sticky snot and mucus. The cold air of winter makes your nose colder, and slows down its ability to get rid of mucus effectively. As a result, the influenza virus is more likely to infiltrate the body. As well as this, cold air is said to decrease the activity of phagocytes – which are the white blood cells that are responsible for fighting off disease and illness in your body.

We are also more prone to catching flu in winter because of the lack of vitamin D. Vitamin D helps to strengthen our immune system, and one of the best sources of vitamin D that we have is sunlight. During the shorter, cloudier and darker days of winter we are exposed to less sunlight and our immune system becomes weaker as a result, making us more susceptible to illness.

Another theory surrounding the spread of flu in winter comes from the fact that, during this cold time of year, people spend more time indoors. As a result, you’re more likely to come into contact with someone carrying germs. In addition, by keeping doors and windows shut to keep out the cold, rooms tend to be less ventilated and therefore germs remain in the air as there is nowhere for them to escape to. This is especially the case with public transport, which people are more inclined to use throughout winter. With all of these factors considered in combination, it is not hard to see why people tend to get flu during this time of year.

What are the symptoms of flu?

The symptoms of flu tend to come on very quickly and include:

  • A temperature of above 38C.
  • Achy body
  • Fatigue or exhaustion
  • Coughing
  • Sore throat
  • Headache
  • Insomnia
  • A lack of appetite
  • Diarrhoea
  • Nausea and vomiting

What’s the difference between cold and flu?

The symptoms of flu and cold are quite similar, so it is understandable that people often get confused between the two. However, the main difference is that flu is far more severe than a cold. While a cold might make you feel unwell, you would still be able to go into work with a cold. This is not the case with the flu, as the exhaustion and the heightened symptoms will most likely leave you too unwell to be able to go about your day-to-day activities.

Also, while the symptoms of flu develop quickly, those of a common cold are more gradual. Lastly, if you find that the symptoms you are experiencing only affect your nose and your throat, then it is more likely that you have a cold. Whereas, when the symptoms start to affect your body as a whole, then it is more likely that you have the flu.

How to avoid the flu during winter

Around this time of year, when we are more prone to developing flu than ever, it is important to keep clean. More specifically, we suggest that you wash your hands frequently. Make sure to wash your hands with hot, soapy water for 15 seconds – especially after you cough or sneeze. By doing this, you can rid yourself of any germs that might have made it onto your hands, and you prevent these germs from spreading to other people. If you notice that someone is developing flu symptoms, whether it be a work colleague or a family member, make sure to avoid close contact with them to prevent their germs spreading to you.

The best course of action to take in preventing flu is to get a flu jab – especially if you are more prone to developing the flu than others. This includes those aged 65 or over, pregnant women, and those with underlying health conditions or weakened immune systems. Flu vaccinations are used to protect against the viruses that are believed to be most common during the winter season; and this includes influenza. Therefore, if you really want to improve your chances of not catching the flu, then getting a jab is your best option.

At Qured, we offer private flu vaccinations all across Central London. One of our trained medical professionals will come to your home, hotel or place of work and perform the vaccination – helping you fight off the pesky symptoms of flu that are more common than ever during this winter period. We also offer various workplace vaccinations, which can help to prevent the spread of flu, keeping your employees healthy and happy. If you are interested in benefiting from our flu vaccination services, then sign up to Qured today.