Flu levels are the highest they have been for four years and cases are continuing to rise, so how can the UK protect itself against this nasty virus?
Professor Alyn Morice, Head of Cardiorespiratory Studies at Hull York Medical School says: “The only way we can truly avoid the seasonal germs is to stay indoors, not speaking to anyone or going anywhere. Of course, this isn’t a practical solution, but there are ways in which you can help yourself to recover more quickly if you are struck down with a virus this winter.”
Here are our top 10 tips to help you beat the flu:
1. Stay home and get plenty of rest As soon as you start to experience symptoms of flu, it’s important you give your body the rest it deserves. So curl up on the sofa and watch some of your favourite films while you recover.
2. Treat the aches and pains Try Care Maximum Strength Ibuprofen 400mg tablets (£1.29, available from pharmacies), which provide effective and strong pain relief for a number of symptoms.
3 Use a tissue Professor Morice says: “Sneezing and coughing into a tissue isn’t only polite, but it also reduces the droplets surrounding the air and landing on surfaces, minimising the risk of infecting others.”
4. Lower your body temperature. The flu virus can cause your body temperature to rise to 380c and above, so keep yourself cool with Eau Thermale Avène Spring Water Spray (£6.50 for 150ml, available from Boots)
5. Drink plenty of fluids Keep hydrated by sipping plenty of water and try a rehydration treatment such as Dioralyte (£3.86 for six sachets, available from pharmacies and supermarkets) as it works to promote the absorption of fluids and electrolytes - just what the body needs to rehydrate.
6. Use a cough suppressant to treat the cough. Professor Morice says: “A syrup is the most suitable basic formulation for coughs as it has a demulcent effect, working to coat the throat, reduce the irritation and soothe the cough reflex. Look for medicines with strong-flavours which work to counteract the irritation.” Try NEW Covonia Chesty Cough Sugar Free Syrup (£4.99, available from pharmacies and supermarkets).
7. Don’t take antibiotics. Antibiotics only work for bacterial infections and if taken carelessly can cause serious health problems.
8. Wash your hands Viruses are spread 50-50 – that’s 50 per cent via a sneeze and 50 per cent via hand contact, so it is essential to maintain good hygiene by washing hands frequently when you are suffering with flu, especially before eating and preparing food. Try Cuticura’s Anti Bacterial Hand Wash (£2.49, available from Boots and independent pharmacies) which uses 3 hour technology to ensure hands stay clean and safe.
9. Take a hot, steamy shower with an invigorating body wash to help reduce congestion and open up your airways.
10. Use a room humidifier such as HoMedics Ultrasonic Cool & Warm Humidifier (£129.99, available from Argos and Amazon) which works to kill germs and bacteria, providing the perfect humidity for an improved well-being.