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Flu Season - What you need to know and how to protect your family

Winter is coming and so is the flu, you ready?

Flu - It all starts with that tell-tale tickle at the back of your throat which soon progresses into that closed-up, husky voice that makes you kinda sound like Barry White.😎 And then it starts. The fever, the chills, the heavy chest, runny nose and eyes, that dreaded weak, achy feeling that quietly creeps up on you. “Not looking so sexy now, are you?”, the words you utter to yourself while staring in the mirror. HECTIC RIGHT!

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Anyway, with the coming winter, you can be sure that the one other thing it brings with it besides the chill is the flu. Below we talk about what flu is, how do you get it and can it be prevented.

What is the flu and can you prevent it?

Influenza, commonly known as ‘flu (sometimes, it progresses to the even deadlier ‘man ‘flu’ – but that’s a story for another time), is a viral infection. Studies indicate that there are over 300 different strains of it. The good news is that if you’ve had the ‘flu before, you can never get attacked by that same strain again. Speaking of which, the normal duration of ‘flu is usually around a week, two weeks at the most. Your body makes antibodies that destroy the virus before it destroys you.😁 Up until now, the only way to give yourself a shot at preventing the flu is by getting a ‘flu shot.

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Flu vaccines work the same way, triggering your body’s natural defence system. The vaccine contains three different types of inactivated flu viruses. Inactivated means that the viruses have been killed and can’t make you sick. They cause antibodies to develop in your body about two weeks after vaccination. These antibodies mimic your natural resistance to the virus and give you protection against infection. It’s a common misconception that you can’t get a flu jab if you are already sick. If you are experiencing symptoms, the earlier you go to see your doctor, the better. If you are very ill, it’s best to wait it out and not get the shot.

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Who should get the flu vaccine?

  • Pregnant and post-partum women (any time during pregnancy)
  • Anybody infected with HIV (check with your doctor first)
  • Healthcare workers
  • Anybody who has a chronic illness (check with your doctor first)
  • Persons aged 65 years and older
  • Residents of old-age homes, chronic care, and rehabilitation institutions
  • Adults and children in close contact with people at risk of severe flu
  • Anyone who doesn’t want to catch ‘flu or give it to others

Who should NOT get the flu vaccine?

If you’ve had a severe reaction to the flu vaccine or any component of the vaccine - including egg protein, don’t get vaccinated. Severe reactions would be things like difficulty breathing, drop in blood pressure, Guillain-Barre syndrome (loss of sensation and/or paralysis starting from the feet) or if you ended up in hospital as a result of getting the vaccination.

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So, I’ve now got the ‘flu… what can I do to make it go away faster?

Vitamin C may lessen the duration and severity of ‘flu’s and colds, and 1000mg daily dose of this vital antioxidant is just the kind of ammo your body needs.

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There’s much wisdom in ‘feed a fever, starve a cold’, as nutrition plays a huge role in your recovery. If you’re like me, then, every time you got the ‘flu, your mom would make a big pot of chicken soup… and after having a bowl or two, you’d soon start to feel better. Research suggests that your mom was right, after all. Penicillin, a powerful antibiotic, is found in chicken bones and infuses the soup. So, try this nourishing, delicious chicken soup, and you’ll be back to your old self in no time.

A final word, before we go

‘Flu is a serious condition, so don’t exert yourself in any way until you are better. Get plenty of rest, and visit your doctor. Then, listen to the advice given, and finish your full course of antibiotics. With certain meds leaving you drowsy, it’s easy to forget to take the right ones at the right dose… at the right time. So, simply click the image below to download the Memo Health Assistant app, get daily reminders to take your medication when you need to, and get well soon!

Source: PDF Influenza fact sheet compiled by the South African Department of Health.

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