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Welcome to the October edition of our WWL Blog

Flu BugThis month’s blog has been infected by me - the influenza virus!

I hide in the millions of tiny droplets that come out of the nose and mouth of an infected person when they cough or sneeze. These droplets typically spread about one metre. They hang suspended in the air for a while before landing on surfaces, where I can survive for up to 24 hours.

Anyone who breathes in the droplets can catch me. You can also catch me by touching the surfaces that the droplets have landed on if you pick me up on your hands and then touch your nose or mouth.

Everyday items at home and in public places can easily become contaminated with me, including food, door handles, remote controls, handrails, telephone handsets and computer keyboards. Therefore, if you don’t want to catch me, it's important to wash your hands frequently.

I’ve been told I’m like a chameleon as I can change regularly and you can catch me more than once. Since I’m never the same way twice, your body won't always have a natural resistance to the new forms I can take on.

As you can see, I’m not really something you want to invite round for tea; I really can’t blame you if I’m honest. I’m not safe to have around, a bad influence, so to speak. I’m certainly worse than my pal the common cold as I bring you a slew of gifts like fever, chills, headaches and aching muscles, as well as a cough and sore throat. I stick around for a lot longer too and if it gets complicated between you and me, you could become seriously ill and have to go to hospital.

So how do you keep me away? Well, there are a few things that I really don’t like:

The Flu Jab – the thing that works the best at keeping me far away from you is the Flu Jab. I can tell you that this works at least 70% of the time and will not only help to protect you, but also your family, friends and colleagues.  The Flu Jab is especially important and safe for those that are a bit more vulnerable such as children, the elderly and pregnant women. Also, don’t forget, I like to change so if you really want me to stay away, get the Flu Jab every year to be on the safe side. Trust me, you will not get me from a flu jab as I would much rather stay away!

Clean Hands and Surfaces – There is nothing I hate more than freshly clean hands or surfaces. There is nothing there for me to grab on to when your hands and the things you touch are regularly washed and disinfected so I can’t move freely around from person to person. Warm soapy water and anti-bacterial gels are my enemies!

Being Cooped Up – Once I’m with you, the best way to get rid of me is to stay home and get some rest. When I’ve finally found someone to infect, that is when I am at my most contagious so keeping me cooped up at home means I can’t spread to lots of other people. I like to be out and about so keeping me with you all warm and cosy at home is my nightmare!

As the days get colder, I get stronger, which means that this is the best time to get your Flu Jab to protect yourself and those you care about from me. Flu Jabs are available at most GPs offices and at chemists and pharmacists in your area. For more information you can visit the NHS Stay Well This Winter website: http://www.nhs.uk/staywell.

 

 

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