Wash your hands...and avoid the flu

Wash your hands to keep the bugs away.
Wash your hands to keep the bugs away.

The Public Health Agency (PHA) is reminding the public in Coleraine and Ballymoney what action they can take to help prevent catching seasonal flu as it continues to circulate this winter.

Dr Lucy Jessop, Consultant in Health Protection, PHA, advises: “Even after you have received the flu vaccine, it is still important to maintain good hygiene.

“This will help to reduce the risk of picking up or spreading winter viruses such as flu and norovirus. Hand washing with soap and warm water is the most effective way to prevent the spread of infections, as well as covering your nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing and disposing of it quickly and carefully in a bin.

“If you do get flu, the PHA’s advice is to stay at home and don’t spread your infection to others, rest, drink plenty of fluids and use over-the-counter remedies if they make you feel more comfortable. Avoiding visits to friends or relatives in hospital or residential and nursing homes when you or they have symptoms.

“Receiving the seasonal flu vaccine is still the best way to help protect yourself and others from getting the virus, so if you are in an ‘at risk’ group or pregnant get the vaccine now. It takes approximately 10 days to develop protection against flu following vaccination,”

Dr Jessop continued: “Flu symptoms usually peak after two or three days and you should begin to feel much better within five to eight days.

“If you are becoming more ill, or you are in an at-risk group, then contact your GP for advice. Elderly people or those in ‘at risk’ groups may develop complications that can lead to serious illness and can be life threatening. That is why it is vital to get the seasonal flu vaccine if it is offered to you, and to maintain good hand hygiene.”

For more information on seasonal flu go to www.fluawareni.info and follow us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/publichealthagency) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/publichealthni)