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Beat colds and flu

Winter is slowly coming and with it comes all the winter bugs. Flu season typically starts in June, peaks in July and lasts around 10 weeks. If you are pregnant, immune impaired or have a small baby take these steps to avoid getting sick this year.

1. Basic hygiene is your best friend

Wash your hands often, especially before touching your baby or preparing food. And get into the habit of avoiding touching your face and mouth. That’s because it’s very easy to pick up the virus on your hands. If the virus in on your hands, and you transfer it to face or mouth, you’re helping it into your system. Watch out for places like taxis and public transport. Don’t bring bugs home.

2. Keep your immune system strong

It’s the best way of beating the bugs that are floating around. Keep warm (keep your body temperature constant), and get enough sleep (tiredness causes stress, and stress weakens the immune system). Eat your greens, and snack on fruit: they’re full of vitamins and good stuff.

3. Consider the flu injection

Each year, a new flu vaccine is developed to counteract the specific bugs that have emerged that year, and the three most common strains of influenza are generally covered. The vaccine contains inactivated viruses which prompt your body to produce antibodies, around seven to 14 days after you’ve received the injection. These antibodies will either prevent you contracting the flu if you’re exposed to one of the viruses included, or will reduce the severity of the symptoms. If you are pregnant check with your clinic first. The jab is also not suitable for babies (under six months).

4. Stay away from sick people

Keep your small baby away from crowded places. You can’t always spot who has flu. If you live with someone who is sick take extra care. Contain your sneezes (use a tissue, and dispose of it right away), just in case; and keep an eye out for those around you who’re careless about that sort of thing.

In healthy adults, colds and flu bugs are often no more than simply an inconvenience. But they can make you vulnerable to more sinister things, especially respiratory tract infections. So take them seriously, and have a sniffle-free winter!

 

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