wash-handsWe all catch a cold or a flu illness from time to time and it really can cause quite a bit of misery as well as disrupting our personal, family, social and working lives. While it is true that you cannot completely avoid these illnesses there is actually quite a bit you can do to reduce your risk of getting sick in this way. Here are 5 great tips:

  1. Flu vaccine. It works. Simple as that. It is not a guarantee but depending on the season and the type of bugs going round the flu vaccine can reduce your risk of getting a flu illness by 50-60% . It also reduces the chances of you getting a serious flu illness requiring hospitalisation by as much as 75%.
  2. Hand washing. Flu germs can live and spread via hand contact so regular hand washing really helps. At least 30 seconds of hot water & soap scrubbing is needed, as many times a day as you can manage but always after a toilet visit and always before meals. Alcohol-based hand-wash is also a good option. NOTE: in a drought or water-crisis situation hand washing is still important if not actually even-more important – water must just be used sparingly (it is quite possible to wash hands well with very little water) and or hand-sanitiser gels and wipes used.
  3. Avoid sick people. We do not want you to become heartless but try to avoid those who have colds and flu as much as you reasonably can. Simple common sense really.
  4. Manage your allergies. Hayfever, sinus congestion and asthma can all increase your chances of getting flu and they can also make any flu illness more complicated and serious. But these are manageable conditions you should get under control in partnership with your doctor.
  5. Be well. Healthy living makes you stronger and more resistant to illnesses like colds and flu. A good diet, regular exercise, enough sleep , and a positive balanced lifestyle in general, are especially important here.

These simple steps can really make a difference in helping you through the winter.