That influenza, or flu, is merely an indisposition and not that serious is a myth. Graham Anderson, CEO and principal Officer at Profmed says: “The truth is that the flu is actually a relentless and possibly life-threatening disease which kills hundreds of thousands of people worldwide every year.”
Graham says it is also incorrect to believe that the virus is a natural occurrence and that almost everyone should expect to contract the ailment every year.
This flu shot can help keep you from catching the flu. “You can vaccinate against influenza but not the common cold so a person can still experience a cold following a flu shot,” he says.
As a matter of fact, most people are not aware of the distinct difference between a cold and the flu. The flu is caused by different virus types in contrast to a cold. Flu symptoms are usually more intense and sudden, with more serious complications like pneumonia, inflammation of the heart and other bacterial infections. On the other hand, a cold is a milder respiratory illness that tends to take a much lengthier period to kick in and is usually associated with a sore throat and runny nose, he adds”.
Each year a seasonal flu vaccine is developed and made available in South Africa to protect individuals against the most common strains of this extremely contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza A or B viruses. Getting a seasonal flu vaccination is one of the most effective ways to protect yourself against the flu viruses going around each year, says Graham.
Anderson adds that although the vaccine is not 100 percent effective, if you are healthy person generally, the flu vaccine can lessen the severity and duration of your symptoms. He adds that South Africans can also take some basic preventative steps to protect themselves from coming down with the flu bug.
He offers the following tips to safeguard oneself against the dreaded colds and flu:
1. Avoid close contact with people who are already sick, and vice versa, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too.
2. If possible, stay home and avoid public places when you are ill. This will help contain the infection.
3. Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing to prevent the spread of germs.
4. Washing your hands often will help protect you from bacteria. If soap and water are not available, use a waterless hand sanitiser.
5. Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at work or at home, especially when someone has the sniffles.
6. Get plenty of sleep, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food.
“By practising the above-mentioned tips you can reduce and possibly completely skip the cold and flu season emerging on the other end with very little battle wounds. Avoiding germs and ensuring your immune system is strong and functioning are vital during season changes,” concludes Anderson.