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Flu

Don’t Let the Flu get you down! 

I hope this blog , which is aimed at discussing, symp toms and treatments of the flu, will inform and better equip you to get through the winter.

The flu is highly infectious and is caused by the influenza virus. It infects your lungs and upper respiratory system also causing high temperatures and aches and pains.

It is spread through coughing and sneezing. It can also be spread through touching common surfaces e.g. door handles.

 

Symptoms develop on average two days after infection. Patients will be infectious themselves for 5-6 days. People typically begin to feel much better after 7-8 days.

Symptoms of flu

  • Sudden temperature above 38 degrees
  • Cough
  • Headache
  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Aching muscles and joint pain
  • Diarrhoea, stomach pain, nausea and vomiting
  • Sore throat
  • Runny/blocked nose/sneezing
  • Loss of appetite
  • Difficulty sleeping

It can be difficult at times to distinguish between symptoms of cold and flu. Main differences are:

Flu comes on quickly and often includes fever and aching muscles. Patients are often too unwell to continue usual activities.

Treatment

If you are fit and healthy, you can manage the symptoms at home.

Antibiotics are not recommended as they have no effect against the flu virus.

The most important treatment is rest and plenty of fluids.

Over the counter medication can help with symptoms.

For example:

  • A fever, aches, pains, chills, sore throat and headache  - the best treatment is paracetamol/Ibuprofen. 
  •  Cough, there are various options depending on dry or chesty coughs.
  • Very often, a virus will include an upset stomach, diarrhoea, nausea and vomiting -  Dioralyte is an effective over the counter treatment for this and if particularly bad if the patient has no heart conditions Motilium can be used.
  • For the runny and blocked nose and if not on any other medication Zirtek plus or Actifed will assist.

It is very important to always check with the pharmacist which over-the-counter medicine is best for you

Prevention

Vit C and Zinc are good supplements to help increase immunity. Echinacea also has its place in prevention.

The flu vaccine is recommended especially for at risk groups e g 65 plus, long-term health conditions, pregnant women, health workers. Good hygiene- ensure hands are washed regularly in soap and water. Use tissues to cover the mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing and put used tissues in the bin immediately. Also clean surfaces regularly to kill any germs.

For more information on the Flu, please drop into any of our Sligo Pharmacies in Market Cross or Teeling Street.

 

References

www.hse.ie

www.nhs.uk

 

 

 

 

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