The flu – what you need to know now

Flu season has arrived … for everyone! Now, more than ever knowing what to expect helps
you and your family win the fight against flu.

What is the flu

The flu and the common cold are both respiratory illnesses but are caused by different viruses.
Because these two types of illnesses have similar symptoms, it can be difficult to tell the difference
between them based on symptoms alone. One distinguishing factor is that flu symptoms occur
rapidly, one morning you may be well, and that afternoon you’re running a high fever and feel
extremely ill. In general, cold symptoms tend to be milder where flu symptoms are more severe
and can lead to the cause of other serious complications, such as pneumonia, bronchitis,
asthma flare-ups, heart problems and ear infections. This especially in the case of children
and adults that are considered “high risk”.

How is it spread?
• Via droplets when infected people cough or sneeze near you.
• When you touch infected surfaces and then touch your eyes, mouth or nose straight
afterwards. The flu virus can live on hard surfaces for up to 24 hours and tissues for up to 15
• Through flu germ ‘deposits’ left behind in enclosed, crowded spaces like lifts.

How can I protect myself or my family?
• Get vaccinated with this year’s seasonal flu vaccine, especially formulated to project
against the most recent strains of influenza.
• Practice good personal hygiene, wash your hands regularly, especially before
preparing food and eating.
• Eat your fruits and vegetables, good nutrition is key in boosting a strong immune
response against infections.
• Should you already have the flu, avoid toughing your face, flush away used tissues
rather than just putting it in a bin, sneeze and cough into your elbow and stay at
home if you are sick to avoid spreading it to people around you.

Are some people more at risk than others?
That have an increased risk of catching flu and should get vaccinated are:
• People aged 65 or older
• People who have chronic illnesses such as asthma, heart disease, kidney disease and
• People with weakened immune systems e.g. HIV
• Residents of nursing homes and other long-term facilities.
• Pregnant women and women up to two weeks after giving birth
• Young children under 5, especially those under the age of 2.
• Children at schools or in day-care centres

What are the “flu like” symptoms of influenza?
• Runny nose
• Aches and pains
• Vomiting
• Diarrhoea
• Fever
• Tiredness
• Coughing
• Sore Throat

Your flu vaccine is available from your nearest Local Choice Pharmacy at R79.95 – get your flu
vaccine before the flu gets you!