Flu season: what you need to know about the flu

Flu season is here again! About this time of year, with the summer coming to an end, temperatures gradually easing and the children safely back at school, the seasonal flu bug kicks into life. Being knocked down by the flu can put you out of action for days. But is it serious? And what is the difference between a cold and flu? What are the symptoms of flu and what can you do to ease your recovery if you get it? Here is our ‘101’ on flu from our qualified nurse Elizabeth Harrison.  

Firstly flu is a virus, which means that it cannot be treated with antibiotics. The common cold is also a virus, but typically the cold virus attacks the upper respiratory tract affecting the nose and throat and is normally less severe than the flu, allowing you to carry on with your day to day. The flu, on the other hand, can be much more aggressive and the symptoms will leave you house-bound. The symptoms of flu come on quick with a fever, dry cough, aches, pains, sore through and a runny nose. These can last from one to two weeks and usually clear up with plenty of water and rest. 

Most people make a full recovery within a week or two, but children and people with a weaker immune system may remain infectious for longer. Elderly people and those with pre-existing medical conditions can get a worsening case of flu and can develop complications such as chest infections and even pneumonia. If you’re concerned that you’re symptoms are persisting or getting worse, be sure to see a qualified doctor.  

The flu virus spreads when little droplets come spraying out of the mouth or nose when an infected person coughs or sneezes. The little germ droplets can span as far as one meter and can stay infectious for up to 24 hours outside the body. So you can pick it up from a surface or breathe in the germs. To help avoid getting catching it, be sure to regularly wash your hands with soap and water, also keep door handles and surfaces clean. The flu vaccination is also another option and even if you are not in a high-risk category for flu complications, having the vaccine can help stop it spreading to those that are more vulnerable.  

If you catch the flu you need to rest. It is often hard to find the time to do this in our busy lives, but investing in this will pay dividends further down the line. Resting will either allow your body some time to focus on fighting off the virus or speed up recovery. You might not feel like eating, but keep drinking as much fluid as you can. Watering down fresh juices will not only give you a vitamin boost but also flush any nasties out of your system. You can take paracetamol or anti-inflammatory medicines such as ibuprofen to lower your temperature and relieve aches and pains.   

Finally, research has actually proven the power of a chicken broth loaded with vegetables (onions, sweet potatoes, parsnips, turnips, carrots, celery stems). Studies have shown that it genuinely does alleviate the inflammation of throat cells. So, stock up on some lovely warming soup to ward off chills!  


Health at Hand is a new app launching soon. Users will be able to see an expert doctor (at the tap of a button) via video consultation meaning less time in the car and less time in the waiting room. 

‘9 out of 10 visits to the doctor can be successfully be conducted via a video consultation.’  

 #telehealthisthefuture #doctorinyourpocket #feelbettertoday  

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