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Flu Protection - Adults Need To Stay Healthy Too.

Being an adult is often fraught with challenges; looking after yourself, a young family and also caring for elderly relatives means our own health is often the last thing we think about.

Influenza can be a very unpleasant condition for anyone; yet adults often overlook preventative options including vaccinations as there is a belief that ‘it won’t happen to me’. The flu doesn’t discriminate and its prevention is something that adults, as well as the elderly and children should consider each year. 1

Some people are more prone to contracting influenza; these groups include the elderly (people over 65 years), pregnant women and those people with chronic health conditions such as asthma, diabetes or heart and lung disease 2. You may not fall into one of these groups however influenza is a virus that is constantly mutating and so each year the flu viruses you will come into contact with will differ.

Fit and healthy adults (and children) can develop complications as a result of influenza and so doing all you can to avoid contracting the virus is important. It is estimated that every year, flu causes an average of over 18,000 hospitalisations and between 1,500 and 3,500 deaths in Australia from complications such as pneumonia and secondary bacterial infections.3

As influenza can be highly contagious, good cleanliness habits are important, especially things like good hand hygiene. Remembering to wash hands before preparing food and eating is an easy way to stop germs spreading.

In addition to vaccination, adults need to ensure they have a generally healthy immune system, so lots of (quality) sleep, a good diet and moderate daily exercise can all help. Another factor that may impact your immune system is stress, something that adults are more prone to than children so using techniques to manage or reduce stress can be important for your wider immunity.4

If you do start to get symptoms of a cold or the flu be sure to wash your hands after sneezing or blowing your nose as germs can spread from the tissue to your hands.

The most effective way to prevent influenza is with annual vaccination. For further information on safeguarding your health and that of your family, and on flu vaccination, you should visit your GP. Additionally the good health habits health list below provides some useful tips:

Good health habits help stop the spread of influenza 5

  • Avoid close contact with people to reduce the spread of germs
  • Cover your mouth and nose – a person with the flu can spread it to others up to 6 feet away! 6
  • Wash your hands frequently and use hand sanitiser
  • Regularly disinfect surfaces at home, work or school, especially when someone in your household is sick
  • Get some sleep! Lots of fluids, exercise, good food – it’s very important to maintain healthy habits throughout the winter season
  • If you are sick with a cold or the flu STAY HOME. Many companies offer flexible work options so do the right thing by your colleagues and keep away from the office

Check out our tips to keep your kids flu free!

For more information please speak to your healthcare professional.

References:

1.  http://www.immunise.health.gov.au/internet/immunise/publishing.nsf/Content/Aus-Imm-Handbook.pdf

2. http://www.cdc.gov/flu/consumer/prevention.htm

3.  http://www.isg.org.au/index.php/media/flu-fact-sheet

4.  http://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/how-to-boost-your-immune-system

5.  http://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/habits.htm

6.  http://www.cdc.gov/flu/professionals/infectioncontrol/healthcaresettings.htm