Check you’ve had a ‘pneumo’ jab
- When you have your influenza jab, check to see if you’ve had the ‘pneumo’ (pneumococcal) jab too - ask your Practice Nurse or GP to check your notes.
- The ‘pneumo’ jab is a one-off jab that helps protect you against pneumonia, meningitis and septicaemia. Ask your GP about it if you’re 65 and over and haven’t had one.
How to avoid colds and flu
The surest natural way to lessen your odds of getting ill is to tweak some of your habits.
‘Coughs and sneezes spread diseases’? ..... it's true.
- Cover up! Stop germs from spreading
- Avoid using handkerchiefs as handkerchiefs harbour germs.
- Use disposable tissues to cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze and place used tissues in the bin as soon as possible.
- Don’t scrunch up a used tissue in your hand and carry around with you – bin it.
- Ideally cough or sneeze into the fold of your arm – your arm is far less likely than your hands to come into contact with people or surfaces and spread germs.
- Keep your hands away from your face – avoid chewing cuticles, biting nails and generally touching your face.
- If you avoid touching your eyes, nose and lips, you drastically reduce the likelihood of a virus like colds of flu, entering your body.
Good hand hygiene is a simple way to prevent the spread of germs, colds and influenza.
- Wash your hands regularly with soap and hot, but not scalding, water.
- Wash your hands before handling or preparing food.
- Wash your hands every time you return home from being out.
- Carry a sanitising gel with you in your handbag or pocket.
- In public toilets use a tissue to handle the toilet flush, use a paper towel to turn taps and open doors.
Good home hygiene can help stop the spread of influenza and other infectious diseases.
- Be sure to clean surfaces regularly to get rid of any germs.
- Use alcohol wipes to wipe down your taps, telephone, door handles, drawer/cupboard handles, light switches, television controls and computer keyboard, kindle other hand held objects.
- Change towels more often, particularly face cloths and hand towels.
- If you have visitors and or others living with you use separate towels.
Treating colds and influenza
Top Tip: NO amount of antibiotics will get rid of your cold or flu. Antibiotics should only ever be taken if you have an infection - caused by bacteria NOT viruses.
There’s no quick cure for a cold or flu virus, but good self-care.
- Speak to your pharmacist - Your pharmacist is the best person to speak to about managing symptoms of a virus such as coughs, sore throat, and a runny nose.
- ‘Choose well’ - Make sure you ‘Choose well’ and speak to your pharmacist or NHS Direct Wales.
- Rest - Allow yourself to rest – sometimes it’s good to be a couch potato and rest.
- Sleep - Get a good night’s sleep – it’s actually a good way to help you recover from any illness.
- Drink - warm drinks are ideal. Any warming drink can help soothe a sore throat, suppress a cough and be of comfort when feeling unwell. Warm water with lemon and honey is especially good.
- Honey – Honey coats the throat and relieves irritation – it has great properties that go to work fighting the virus.
- Eat well – 5 portions of fruit and vegetables are ideal to give you the vitamins and minerals your body needs to fight infections. Avoid processed foods if you can.
- Hot meals – Hot foods such as soups and stews give warmth and comfort. They can be simple to make all in one pan – simply place different types of vegetable in a pan and bring to the boil.
Safety Tip: If you've been or are feeling weak don’t lift the saucepan. Simply spoon or ladle as much as you need into a bowl and if there’s some left over – portion it out in the same way. It may take longer – but you will save yourself a nasty scald.