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8 Things you need to know about flu, that can help you avoid catching flu in Cork this winter

Unfortunately, it’s flu time again, with the flu season running from October to March or April in Ireland. Whether already in full swing, or just around the corner, flu season is not a pleasant time for many of us, and if we’re unlucky, influenza can be more than simply uncomfortable. Avoid catching flu with this helpful guide.

As the HSE has just announced that they have ordered extra vaccinations this year, in response to concerns about a flu epidemic, we thought that it would be helpful to provide a guide to help you protect yourself from catching the dreaded flu in Cork this winter.

Influenza (flu) is a nasty infection which is potentially dangerous, and its impact is often underestimated.

Here are 8 things you should know about flu

Avoid catching flu with these tips

  1. Covering your mouth when you cough or sneeze is more than just good manners

When a flu sufferer coughs or sneezes, the droplets expelled can infect people up to 6ft away. If you’re one of the unlucky people who catches flu this winter, the best way you can help to prevent it from being spread is to stay at home as much as possible. If you have to venture out, it’s vitally important to cover your mouth if you have to cough or sneeze in public.

It also goes without saying, it’s important to try to keep a safe distance from others who cough or sneeze in your presence.

  1. The annual flu season is upon us

In Ireland, the flu season typically arrives around October and runs to March or April. The majority of flu cases occur between December and February.

  1. If you’re otherwise healthy, the flu should clear within a week

Flu is the cause of many hospital stays and GP visits in Ireland each year. However, if you’re generally healthy, the virus will normally clear within a week.

  1. Get vaccinated a.s.a.p. this year – previous year’s vaccinations are unlikely to protect you from current strains

Influenza virus is highly variable and changes over time. Each year brings different strains of flu and a new vaccine has to be developed to deal with each. Unfortunately, vaccinations from previous years are unlikely to protect you from current strains of the virus. Be sure to get vaccinated as soon as possible this year, to avoid catching flu in 2018.

Contact us here at Irwin’s pharmacy to find out more about getting the flu jab in Cork.

  1. Flu vaccinations are free for at-risk people

Although the HSE recommends that everyone should get a flu vaccine, vulnerable groups are particularly urged to do so. Flu vaccines are provided free to at-risk groups of people including:

  • People aged 65 and over
  • Those over 6 months old with long-term health conditions
  • Pregnant women
  • Healthcare workers
  • Residents of care homes
  • Carers
  • People with regular contact with pigs, poultry or water fowl

If you think that you are classed as ‘at-risk’, contact us here at Irwin’s pharmacy to find out more about free flu vaccinations in Cork.

  1. Vaccinations are effective but not 100%

Typically, flu vaccinations are 40 to 60 percent effective in preventing flu. Vaccinations won’t stop all flu viruses around at the time, and the level of protection provided can vary. Having a vaccination is not a 100% guarantee that you won’t catch flu. However, if you are vaccinated and you catch flu, it is likely to be significantly milder and shorter-lived than it would have been otherwise.

  1. Symptoms should peak within two to three days

As listed on the HSE seasonal flu advice, flu can give you any of the following symptoms:

  • Sore throat
  • Chills
  • Tiredness
  • Headache
  • Blocked or runny nose
  • Sudden fever (temperature above 38C/100F
  • Dry, chesty cough
  • Aching muscles
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Sneezing
  • Limb or joint pains
  • Stomach upset and/or diarrhoea
  • Loss of appetite
  1. The HSE is preparing for a potential epidemic this winter (2018)

In preparation for winter 2018, the HSE has ordered more supplies of the flu vaccination due to increased concerns of an epidemic this winter. An HSE spokesperson recently announced that they have purchased up to 1.15 million doses of the vaccine for winter 2018, compared with 850,000 doses for 2017.

  1. Flu can be lethal

The European Commission estimates that flu causes more deaths across the continent each year than car accidents. Despite this startling fact, about 100 million Europeans who are recommended for the flu vaccine don’t take it up.