Flu - All You Need To Know
Same as catching a cold, you can breathe the flu virus in from the air, when someone who already has it sneezes or coughs. Infected droplets are sprayed from the mouth or nose and can travel up to a metre (three feet). They hang about in the air for a while, then land on surfaces, where the virus can survive for up to 24 hours. You can also catch the virus by touching surfaces the droplets have landed on if you pick up the virus on your hands and then touch your nose or mouth. The virus can live on all kinds of hard surfaces at home or work, or public places. Think door handles, remote controls, banisters, pc keyboards, soft furnishings like sofas and curtains. It’s a good idea to wash your hands regularly if you want to avoid being infected.5
Flu sneaks up on you. You can be infected for days before realising it. You can be innocently infecting others a whole day before your own symptoms show up. And you can stay contagious for up to five to seven days after you first go down with it.
There are measures you can take to minimise the risk of catching flu, for yourself and others. Be careful when you come into contact with someone who’s infected. Wash your hands often, with an antibacterial soap. Avoid touching your nose or eyes as the viruses can easily enter your body this way.
Use an antibacterial product to wipe down surfaces, especially in highly communal areas – door handles, kitchen surfaces, living areas. Take care to cover your nose and mouth with a disposable tissue when you sneeze. Then throw it away immediately. Have others who live with you do the same, especially children. Then dispose of the rubbish fast. Don’t re-use \old tissues, they could be infected with different, new viruses.
You can have an annual flu vaccination (flu jab). But it’s too late if you’re already feeling the shivery onset of flu. And remember, getting vaccinated doesn’t protect you from every strain of virus going around, only the most common ones.5
SIGNS OF FLU
A sudden fever, aches or pains, weakness or a loss of appetite are all signs you could be coming down with flu. A fever and a cough together are generally a good warning sign. You may have all the same symptoms as a common cold, with extra fatigue and lack of concentration. It can be hard to continue your usual routine, or work. The flu fever can last three or four days. A bout of flu can leave you feeling exhausted for up to three weeks afterwards.5
Stomach flu, while referred to as a flu, is not the same. Also known as viral gastroenteritis, stomach flu is caused by a variety of viruses and develops after contact with an infected person or consuming contaminated food or water. Less often, stomach flu can be caused by bacteria. While stomach flu attacks the stomach and intestines, influenza only affects the respiratory system, including the nose, throat and lungs.6
TAKE CARE OF COLDS AND FLU?
Flu is more severe than a cold, but many of the symptoms are the same. If you’re generally healthy and under age 65, you don’t need to see your GP. That’s because antibiotics won’t work against viruses.12
Consider seeing your GP if:
Otherwise, take care of yourself:
There are plenty of tried and trusted Lemsip products to help ease your symptoms. You can pick them up from your local pharmacy or supermarket. They have different strength active ingredients and formulations, to help specific symptoms. Some Lemsip products are designed especially for flu symptoms. Some of them have pharmacy strength ingredients. They’re not available straight off the shelf, so speak to a pharmacist if you’re unsure.
WHAT’S THE OUTLOOK?
If you’ve come down with flu, your fever and other main symptoms should pass within a few days, but it can take a week to really start feeling better. And you may feel very tired for a few weeks more.
You’ll then start to develop a resistance by viral antibodies, to stop you getting this exact flu virus again. But beware, because they can’t protect you from getting another type of flu as the strains are constantly evolving.7