The flu viruses that circulate can change from year to year. Completely new flu viruses can emerge and cause global pandemics. The official flu season runs from May to September, and although anyone can get the flu, it does not mean you will get it every year.
Often people talk about having ‘the flu’. But what they actually have is a cold. Common symptoms of both the flu and a cold include a cough, sore throat, and tiredness. The flu is usually always accompanied by a high temperature lasting several days, whereas with a cold the temperature, if raised, is only at the initial stages of the infection. Headaches are very common with the flu, as is profound tiredness and aching limbs both severe and prolonged for several days, if not longer.
Symptoms of flu include:
• a fever greater or equal to 38°C
• at least one respiratory symptom, like a cough, sore throat, or runny nose
• rapid onset with at least one systemic symptom, like a headache, aches and pains, sweats or chills, or fatigue.
Some people are more at risk of getting the flu than others. The Ministry of Health has identified that the following groups are at higher risk of developing complications from flu viruses and are therefore eligible for a free flu vaccine.
• are pregnant
• are significantly overweight
• use asthma preventers
• have diabetes
• are aged 65 years or over
• have heart disease
• have kidney problems
• have a serious medical condition, like cancer.
If you are unlucky enough to get the flu, you should stop the spread of flu germs by:
• staying in bed and not going to work or school
• covering your mouth when you cough and sneeze
• regularly washing your hands and drying them thoroughly
• avoid crowded settings.
• washing your hands thoroughly and often and avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth
• eating a balanced diet with fruit and vegetables rich in vitamin C
• getting enough sleep
• reducing your stress levels
• getting regular exercise.
To treat influenza, there are medicines specifically available to prevent the infection from worsening, if treated at once. Come see us or your doctor the moment symptoms develop, as they can be prescribed or purchased over the counter at a pharmacy.
To treat the common cold, you need to seek treatment for each symptom, as specific anti-cold medicines or vaccinations are not available. No antibiotics will help a viral infection, so if bothered by a cough, blocked nose, sore throat, and other symptoms of a cold, we can provide symptomatic relief for you and your family.
We can consult with you if you are unsure if you or your family may have a cold, the flu or a sore