The temperature is dropping, and flu season is approaching. This winter will continue to be different, however, as it's still happening amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
While flu-like symptoms of COVID-19 remain front-of-mind – along with the upcoming rollout of the vaccine - it's still important to be protected against the seasonal flu.
Flu is a contagious respiratory illness that is more common in winter, due to less humid climates that allow the virus to spread more easily.
It affects the lungs, nose and throat, and is associated with many symptoms that often strike us down with fever, chills, muscle aches, blocked or runny noses, coughs and the usual sense of fatigue and exhaustion that occurs when our bodies are fighting a viral infection.
On top of the often debilitating physical symptoms, flu can be highly disruptive to our everyday lives, from the effects of self-isolation to anxiety and other health impacts.
The flu shot helps to reduce your risk of catching it – here are the answers to your most-asked questions.
Anyone over the age of six months can receive the flu vaccination. When you receive the flu shot, you are not only helping to reduce your chances of catching the illness, you're also helping to protect others – including more vulnerable people for whom flu can lead to more serious health complications.
You can visit a general practitioner or an Amcal pharmacy to receive your flu jab in one of its private consultation spaces. If you would like advice about the best time to get your flu vaccination, you can book online or speak to one of their pharmacists, who are specially trained to administer the shot.
It is not possible to contract flu from the vaccination. However, patients can experience temporary reactions including tiredness, muscle aches or localised pain, redness or swelling where the injection is administered. You may also experience a low-grade temperature or notice a small lump at the site of the injection.
The symptoms of flu and COVID-19 are similar and include symptoms such as cough, muscle aches, fatigue, sore throat, a runny or congested nose, fever, nausea or vomiting, diarrhoea and shortness of breath.
COVID-19 patients have also experienced loss of taste or smell – which is also a rare symptom of flu. The only way to determine whether you have flu or COVID-19 is to get tested and isolate as soon as symptoms present themselves.
The flu shot will not protect you from COVID-19. However, it is possible to contract both flu and COVID-19 at the same time, which can cause serious health issues. It is safe to receive both vaccinations.
With the upcoming rollout of the COVID-19 vaccination, you should aim to get your flu shot as early as possible. It is recommended that patients wait two weeks between receiving the flu shot and the COVID-19 vaccination. For those who have already been vaccinated for COVID-19, it is still effective to receive the flu shot afterwards.
You should stay home to help your body recover - and to help stop the spread of flu. Plenty of rest and fluids are vital, however, there are many effective cough, cold and flu remedies available from Amcal that can help support immunity and alleviate symptoms, such as vitamin C, paracetamol, lozenges and cough syrup.
Brought to you by Amcal.