Influenza – colloquially known as the flu – is an infectious virus that affects humans. It is often confused with the common cold because the symptoms are similar, but influenza is harsher and causes fever, headaches and fatigue which aren’t synonymous with the common cold. It can also draw nausea and vomiting - particularly in younger children - but these symptoms are more specific to “stomach flu”. Let’s see how to prevent influenza in winter.
[Read: Treatment Options for Flu]
It’s important to understand how you might acquire this virus in order to help you dodge it. It spreads from person to person essentially, directly or indirectly. You catch it directly by inhaling the droplets from the cough or a sneeze of an infected individual, or from simply talking too close to them. Your chances of acquiring it indirectly are also real, from bad hygienic practices, i.e. using the same objects - such as a towel or mug - as an infected individual.
Influenza Prevention Tips
How can you prevent influenza in winter? Remember that it can render you useless for days, so if you have an important appointment during the season, then you need to pay attention to these ways of dodging it.
- It’s always recommended – for people older than six months - to get the annual flu jab from your physician, as this pretty much guarantees your immunity from influenza; the vaccine protects you against the three most prevalent strains of that particular winter. The 2010-11 winter-flu vaccine protects against the H3N2 and the Influenza B viruses, as well as last year’s infamous H1N1 (swine flu) virus.
- Individuals whose life might at risk from influenza include young children, pregnant women, old people and individuals with chronic health disorders such as diabetes, asthma, or heart or lung diseases.
[Read: Why Flu Spreads in Winter]
- Practicing good hygiene is paramount when trying to prevent influenza in winter. Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you are coughing or sneezing and avoid people who are not. Terminate the tissue after use, by burning or flushing it. Try to avoid people who are showing flu-like symptoms, it’s so easy for the virus to be passed from them to you.
- Wash your hands with soap and water every chance you get, as they are frequently in contact with your nose and mouth. Since your hands may be touching various communal objects during the day, the chances a virus might attach itself to them are high.
- Keep you immune system on high alert by leading an active lifestyle, getting the required amount of rest and eating right; drink three or four litres of water per day.
- If you do contract the virus, you are now a conduit to transfer it further, so it’s good practice to isolate yourself from society as best you can. Hopefully these tips showed you how to prevent influenza this winter.
Read more articles on Flu