We are well into flu season and the cold snap we’ve experienced the last few days is a sign that we are all vulnerable to getting the dreaded flu. If you do catch it, you can be wiped out for weeks.

As soon as it’s cold, this combined with warm temperatures indoors and being confined in communal spaces such as trains, offices and shops is the ideal environment for germs to flourish. There are over 200 cold viruses so it’s likely that you’ll catch one of them at some point over the winter. However, flu is a step further as it’s an infection of the respiratory system caused by the Influenza virus. Each year 15% of people catch flu but the symptoms are sudden and very severe. If you have flu you are likely to be bed bound and unable to move.

Highly contagious

The virus is airborne making it extremely contagious. It can be spread by sneezing, coughing, talking and touching items that someone with the virus has touched including door handles, shopping trolleys, keyboards, bannisters, remote controls etc. It’s imperative that you wash your hands constantly during the day to stop you from transferring any germs to your mouth or face.

Preventing flu

Apart from washing your hands properly throughout the day, make sure your immune system is strong by eating enough fruit and veg and taking a supplement. Antiviral foods can help including onion and garlic as well as immune boosting supplements such as Echinacea. Stay active and exercise for at least half an hour three times a week.

What to do if you have flu

If you are unfortunate enough to catch flu, drink plenty of water as this will not only keep you hydrated, it will help to flush out toxins from your body. Drink at least 1.5 litres a day and limit your alcohol intake which can cause vitamin deficiencies. Try drinking green tea too as this has plenty of antioxidants.

Try not to spread the virus by washing your hands regularly, avoiding close contact with people and when you sneeze, do it into the crook of your arm rather than your hand to stop you spreading the virus.

Get the Flu jab!

Lastly, get the flu jab. This will protect you from contracting flu and will make coughs and colds much more short-lived. You can get it for free if you’re at risk i.e. over 65, suffering from a medical condition or are at primary school. Otherwise you can get it for around £10 at your local pharmacy which is worth it when you consider loss of earnings etc.