The flu is far more dangerous than most people think. In 2019, Australia has seen a record number of hospitalisations (18,000) while 3,500 people died and over 3000,000 GP consultations were booked.
Influenza (or the flu) is a highly contagious disease that can affect anyone. Those who are susceptible to severe side effects are the very young (babies and infants) and seniors, as well as those with compromised immune systems like diabetics. The flu is usually spread from person to person through contact with body fluids. There’s no cure for the flu, try to take preventative measures like a vaccination. If you have contracted the flu, how do you beat the effects, manage the symptoms and help your body recuperate?
What is the flu?
The influenza virus is behind the illness and this virus can change each year making it difficult to pin down the virus’s weakness. What makes the flu different from a common cold is that it’s potentially lethal if it develops into one of the following issues;
● ear infections
● heart and other organ damage
● brain inflammation and brain damage
which can turn into a sepsis.
Most people consider the flu relatively harmless but the illness can turn into a serious health issue.
The virus is transmitted by air droplets and spreads when an infected person coughs or sneezes, and you breathe it in. Through bodily fluids, the virus can also linger on surfaces, spreading the illness to anyone that touches that surface.
The real problem with the flu virus is that you can have the illness and remain asymptomatic for 24 hours, spreading the illness without even realising you have it
The flu likes cold weather
The flu spreads more rapidly during the colder months. The flu season usually peaks during the months of July and August but can extend to October.
Lowered temperatures results in a weakened immune system and makes us more prone to the body’s defence mechanism against bacteria and viruses. By staying warm, you can improve your immune function and and prevent colds and flu from affected you as severely.
What are the symptoms?
The influenza virus attacks your respiratory system: throat, nose and lungs. Often, the flu might present with similar symptoms to a common cold at its onset. A common cold will have fewer symptoms with less severity and end after a few days. The flu can develop into secondary infections and last significantly longer, presenting with severe symptoms and great discomfort. The symptoms to watch out for include;
● fever over 38 C
● aching body
● chills and sweat
● runny nose or sneezing
● dry cough
● sore throat
● vomiting and diarrhoea (more common in children).
You will usually show no symptoms of illness for the first day after you’ve been infected. Sometimes, it can take as long as three days for symptoms to appear. The symptoms can last for up to a week and beyond that, if not treated with care. The flu affects some people mildly and others can take a tremendous knock from it, resisting recovery and often developing secondary infections.
Who is at risk?
The flu can affect anyone who comes into contact with the virus but those with compromised immune systems are especially at risk. This includes those who have not yet developed their full immune function, like babies and infants, as well as seniors and those with respiratory illnesses like COPD. People at highest risk are:
● people more than 65 years old
● pregnant women
● people with long-term medical conditions
● people who have weakened immune systems
Long-term medical conditions that can lead to serious health issues when contracting the flu:
● heart disease
● lung disease
● blood diseases
● metabolic disorders
Vaccination can prevent the flu. Wash your hands regularly to avoid spreading germs. Germs are everywhere: on doorknobs, handles, keyboards, ATM’s etc.
A good alternative is to use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser to sterilise your hands ensuring viruses are killed before they can enter your body.
Stay away from crowds as viruses tend to spread through human-to-human contact.
Avoid direct contact with young children, they are often asymptomatic carriers.
You can’t take an antibiotic to treat the flu because it is a virus, not a bacteria. The best remedy to diminish some of the flu symptoms on your own is bed rest, lots of fluids (water is best), and a paracetamol to alleviate the discomfort.
Some daily living aids might help bringing relief:
- A nasal moisturiser like the Nozoil nasal drops and nasal spray can help reduce the effects of inflammation in the nose and relieve nasal dryness. It contains vitamin E.
- With nasal congestion comes difficulty breathing. The soothing relief of the VapourMist Humidifier will bring moist back in the air and help you temporarily alleviate from coughs and congestion.
- It is a known fact that Vitamin C helps our body avoid and/or recover faster from cold and flu symptoms. Our Vitamin C supplement helps support the immune system which is our own defence mechanism against foreign viruses. It uses a potent toxin-fighting antioxidant to jumpstart our immune system to fight the flu.
Say goodbye to the flu
We’re at the peak of the cold months right now and at the beginning of the flu season. Get your flu shot to avoid getting sick and try to prevent getting ill.
See a doctor if you develop symptoms or you are someone with underlying health issues. Remember this: practice good hygiene, stay away from sick people and take some essential relieving aids to beat the flu this winter.
That will help to contain the spread of the flu virus and it will enable you to have a restful and stress-free recovery.