Winter is approaching and that means that there is a whole new season ahead to enjoy.
It also means we need to protect ourselves against viruses like the flu, which can cause some unpleasant symptoms.
To find out how to avoid the flu virus, read our handy tips. They are all simple actions you can take to keep as healthy as possible during the winter months.
What is the flu and why do we need to avoid it?
Flu is short for influenza, an infection caused by a virus. You can get it at any time of the year, though it’s more common in winter.
People with flu may have one or more of the following symptoms:
- Sore throat
- Runny nose
- Loss of appetite
- Painful muscles or joints
- Upset stomach or diarrhoea
What is “flu-rona”?
As well as the flu, you may have heard about “flu-rona”. This refers to being affected by both COVID-19 and the flu at the same time.
This can be a debilitating combination and something that you definitely want to avoid.
To keep yourself safe from flu-rona, make sure that in addition to measures against flu, you:
- Get your COVID jab or booster if applicable
- Practise social distancing in crowded places
- Test with at-home rapid antigen tests to know whether you are COVID positive
How to avoid the flu virus
Flu is more than a cold. It’s very infectious, and its symptoms are more severe and tend to last longer. So it’s important to avoid getting the flu if you can. Take a look at our simple ways to dodge the flu virus this winter.
Get your vaccine
Perhaps the most effective way of avoiding the flu is to get your vaccine. It’s available for anyone aged six months or over and is available free to these higher-risk groups:
- Children from age six months to under five years
- Anyone from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, aged six months or over
- Anyone aged six months or over with health conditions that could increase their risk of getting severe flu or complications
- Pregnant women
- Anyone aged 65 years or over
Even if you don’t fall within one of these groups, getting a flu vaccine is highly recommended. Ask your GP for details or search for a healthcare provider using the National Health Services Directory.
Know that you can have a flu vaccination and a COVID-19 vaccination or booster at the same time. This will give you good protection against illness this winter.
Stay away from crowds
If you want to reduce the chances of getting the flu, avoid crowds.
Try going out for shopping or other chores when your local community is likely to be less busy, such as during working or school hours.
If you commute to work on public transport, see if you can negotiate working from home on some days. Or try an alternative way of getting to your workplace, like car sharing, walking or cycling.
Of course, it’s not always possible to avoid large numbers of people. So when you’re out in busy places, ensure that you and your family wear face masks to prevent the spread of infection.
Keep your hands clean
Keeping your hands clean is an essential step in avoiding infection. This is because washing your hands removes germs that could infect you when you touch your face or prepare or consume food or drink.
Make sure you wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water. Do this:
- After using the bathroom
- After being in a public place
- After changing your child’s nappy or helping them use the toilet
- After touching or caring for your pet
- After blowing your nose, sneezing or coughing
- After carrying out first aid
- After handling refuse
- Before preparing or consuming food or drink
You can use hand sanitiser in between handwashing or when you’re on the go to help keep your hands germ-free.
Follow an immune-boosting diet
Nature has provided many foods with immune-boosting qualities that are easy to incorporate into your diet and are delicious too.
The following foods are great for boosting your immune system:
- Citrus fruits like oranges, grapefruits, tangerines and lemons, which are high in vitamin C
- Vegetables like red capsicums (peppers), broccoli and spinach, also high in vitamin C and other vitamins
- Garlic, thanks to its immune-boosting compound called allicin
- Almonds and sunflower seeds, for their vitamin E content
- Green tea, for its antioxidants
You may also want to consider strengthening your immunity with supplements. A supplement that promotes gut health, for example, will also enhance your immune system.
Look forward to a fun and healthy season
Follow our tips on how to avoid flu in winter and you can look forward to a fun and healthy season.
You’ll find a whole collection of health and wellbeing products in our online shop. We’ve got items that can help prevent illness like hand sanitiser and face masks through to thermometers and cooling patches to aid your recovery if you fall sick.
Stock up now to ensure that you’re ready for the season ahead.