Help to Avoid Getting Flu

6 January 2011, 05:55 | Updated: 6 January 2011, 06:15

Families in Norfolk and Suffolk are being given more advice on how to avoid getting flu.

Dr Brian Keeble, NHS Suffolk’s public health consultant said: “The misery of flu is one of aching limbs, a high temperature and tiredness and anyone who has had the virus knows just how unpleasant it can be.  No-one wants to catch flu, so it’s important we all do something to stop the virus spreading.

  •     Wash your hands well with hot water and soap for 20 / 25 seconds
  •     Cover your nose and mouth if you cough or sneeze
  •     Throw away used tissues after sneezing - don't keep used tissues up your sleeve
  •     Keep surfaces, door handles etc clean at home

 “One of the simplest ways to protect yourself and others around you is by washing your hands regularly for 20 to 25 seconds using hot water and soap. This is especially important before you touch food or after you have coughed or sneezed.

 “The flu virus is spread from person to person when droplets of moisture from a person with flu are spread through the air when they cough or sneeze. These droplets contain viruses that when inhaled by another person can cause an infection.

 “The virus can also spread when a person touches an infected surface such as a door handle or worktop.

 “If you cough, cover your mouth with a tissue, or if you don’t have one ready use your hand – however you must wash your hands immediately afterwards.

 “Finally, stay aware to hygiene around the home by regularly cleaning hard surfaces using regular household cleaner.”

We are also being told to make sure we get our flu jab if we are in one of the at risk groups.

Dr Jamie Wyllie, Medical Director at NHS Great Yarmouth and Waveney, said: “Flu is a highly contagious viral infection that can lead to serious illness or even death. Anyone can get the illness, but some groups are more vulnerable than others, including pregnant women and people aged over 65, and those with a chronic illness.

“We would urge anyone in an ‘at risk’ group to contact their GP or practice nurse as soon as possible and arrange to have their seasonal flu vaccination. Within five to ten days, they will then develop immunity which will protect them against this year’s strains which includes protection against swine flu.”

You should have the seasonal flu vaccination if you:

  •    are aged 65 or over
  •     are pregnant
  •     live in a residential or nursing home, or
  •     are the main carer for an older or disabled person
  •     or if you have a chronic illness such as heart disease, bronchitis, asthma, diabetes, MS or have had a stroke.

Anyone who has flu-like symptoms should stay at home, drink plenty of water and take paracetamol rather than visiting their GP or local A&E department.

Advice on when to seek medical help is available from NHS Direct, on 0845 4647 or