Hello autumn, and hello to the start of the flu season. Although you can catch the flu any time of the year, it’s more likely to happen when the weather cools down. Flu season usually starts around April, peaks in August, and runs through till October.
Cold vs Flu – Know the difference
People often refer to a common cold as having “the flu”. However, the two are different, and caused by different viruses. The flu is a highly contagious respiratory virus that comes in three different varieties. Flu symptoms are more severe, and could lead to potentially life-threatening complications. It’s important to know the difference between a cold and the flu, so you know what to do when you’re sick, and how to limit the virus spreading to others. Symptoms of colds and flu vary from person to person. However, there are a couple of signs that may help you gauge the difference. Sneezing is usually more prevalent in colds. Fever is usually more prevalent in the flu. If you’re unsure and symptoms persist, it’s always best to seek a medical diagnosis.
Boost your immune system
Your immune system is the body’s defence against infections. One of its main jobs is to fight off disease-causing germs, such as viruses. As we age, our immune response capability is reduced. There also appears to be a link between nutrition and the elderly. For a fighting chance against the flu, we can strengthen our immune system. And, a healthy diet may be one of the best steps towards this. Eating foods that are rich in vitamin C and high in antioxidants can support a healthy immune system.
The flu shot
There is no absolute way to prevent every case of the flu. However, having a flu shot significantly reduces your risk of catching it. It’s important for young children and people aged over 65 years to receive a vaccination, as they have a much higher risk of complications from the flu. Immunity from the flu shot is strongest and most effective 3 to 4 months after vaccination. Therefore, the best time to have your flu shot is in April or May.
Remember, if you feel any cold or flu symptoms, it’s best to stay home. To prevent the spread, wash you hands frequently, and clean and disinfect surfaces. If symptoms get worse or persist, seek medical attention.