Getting through flu: The essential guide of how to prevent it

Healthcare|November 30, 2019

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After the heady delights of summer, there is nothing worse than catching a cold to bring you back down to earth. As autumn arrives, so does the bad weather along with the sniffles, usually as you’re packed inside a train carriage on your way to work. Or worse, you catch the dreaded flu and can’t even face a day in the office. Now is as good a time as ever to clue yourself up about the flu, before the season gets into full swing. We’ll give you the full lowdown on the symptoms of flu, and even better, try and help you stay flu-free throughout the coming months.

Why do we get flu in winter?

The flu is not just ‘in the air’ during the winter months as outbreaks can happen at any time. However, this particular illness is more prevalent throughout the colder months of winter. There are a number of explanations for this. Flu is caused by the influenza virus, which enters our body through our noses by clinging onto mucus. The colder air of winter makes your nose colder, and essentially slows down its ability to get rid of mucus efficiently and, ultimately, the virus is more likely to infiltrate the body. In addition, cold air decreases the activity of phagocytes – the white blood cells that are responsible for fighting off disease and illness in your body.

The lack of vitamin D in the autumn and winter months also makes us more prone to catching the flu. Shorter, cloudier and darker days means we are exposed to less sunlight which weakens the immune system.

Finally, in the winter months it’s typical that people spend more time indoors and so it’s more than likely that you’ll be in contact with someone carrying germs. Coupled with less ventilation and having the heating on to fight the cold, the air inside retains more germs as there is nowhere for them to escape to. A frightening example of this is the London Underground where there are thousands of commuters packed into carriages, which are typically 10 degrees warmer than the outside air, and which never get any proper ventilation!

With all of these factors considered, it is not hard to see why people tend to get the flu during this time of year.

What are the symptoms of flu?

The symptoms of the flu can develop very quickly and include:

  • Body temperature of above 38C.
  • Aches in the body
  • Fatigue or exhaustion
  • Coughing
  • Sore throat
  • Headache
  • Disrupted sleep or insomnia
  • A lack of appetite
  • Diarrhoea
  • Nausea and vomiting

What’s the difference between cold and flu?

Overall, symptoms of flu and colds are quite similar. 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 worse symptoms will most likely leave you too unwell to operate at your usual capacity. Whilst the symptoms of flu develop quickly, those of a common cold are more gradual. It is likely that if you only have a sore throat and a blocked nose, it’s a common 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 you can 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 the quadrivalent flu vaccination privately, 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.

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