Prepare for Flu Season: What You Need to know
As winter approaches, preparing for the flu before the flu season starts is essential. Each year, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) publishes the flu season annual report, which details statistics from the previous flu season and how it affected the population. When the flu season struck in 2022, the population was more susceptible to catching it, and therefore, excess deaths hit a 5-year high since before the pandemic.
Dr Connall Watson (2023) stated that due to the imposed COVID-19 measures, the population had lower immunity following the flu’s absence due to social distancing. Now that the coronavirus measures are gone, the population has begun to mix again, and germs are therefore recirculating.
This guide will discuss how you can prepare for the incoming flu season in the UK.
- What is Flu?
- When is Flu Season in the UK?
- Preparing for Flu Season
- Surviving Flu Season UK FAQs
- Flu Season 2023-2024
What is Flu?
Flu (influenza) is a common respiratory illness affecting your nose, throat, and lungs. It is very infectious, meaning it can quickly spread between people. Flu symptoms often resolve independently, but it can make some people severely ill.
What are Flu Symptoms?
The below symptoms are associated with the flu and can come on very suddenly:
- Sore throat
- Loss of appetite
- High temperature
- Feeling exhausted
- Aching all over your body
- Nausea and vomiting
Always seek medical attention if your symptoms increase in severity or do not improve within a week.
Who is Most Susceptible to Catching the Flu?
Flu is very contagious for people of all ages. However, it can be more severe for older people, pregnant women, or young children as their immune systems are compromised or not fully developed yet. The flu will also seriously affect those with pre-existing health conditions.
How Many People Die During the Flu Season Each Year?
Last year, England suffered its worst flu season in a decade. The 2022 to 2023 report highlighted that there were 14,500 excess deaths from the flu in the UK. In December 2022, flu and pneumonia were the leading causes of excess death. England experienced 574 extra flu deaths, 26% above average.
It is, therefore, vital to be prepared for flu season before it starts.
When is Flu Season in the UK?
Flu season tends to occur between October and March. Still, most of the population will likely be struck down by the flu in January and February when the temperature has significantly dropped.
The cold air during winter months aids the preservation of viruses. As people gather in the warmth indoors, the flu begins to spread.
Preparing for Flu Season
Prepare for flu season by stocking essential items such as hand soap, hand sanitiser, and paper towels. Drying your hands with paper towels is the most hygienic way to dry hands, as the friction can remove excess germs.
Wash your Hands
Flu is spread through direct contact with others or touching a contaminated surface. To avoid the flu, individuals should wash their hands for at least 20 seconds with high-quality hand soap and use hand sanitiser when on the go.
Clean and Disinfect
Surfaces should be disinfected regularly, as germs can live on particular surfaces for up to 24 hours. Flu germs typically live longer on stainless steel and plastic than on tissue and fabric surfaces, so individuals should disinfect hard surfaces daily.
Make Healthy Choices
Your risk of falling seriously ill with flu increases when you have a weak immune system. By eating nutritious meals, getting plenty of rest, and staying hydrated with water, your immune system will be ready to combat any germs it comes into contact with.
Air purification systems in commercial spaces such as offices are essential in improving air quality by removing bacteria. The spread of influenza occurs in shared areas such as offices; removing airborne particles from the air mitigates the risk.
Get your Vaccination
The best way to protect yourself from the flu is by getting the flu vaccine. By getting vaccinated, if you catch the flu, your body will be better equipped to fight off the flu, and you can protect more vulnerable individuals.
Surviving Flu Season UK FAQs
How long will I be contagious with the flu?
Most adults can start infecting others 1 day before they develop their flu symptoms until around 7 days after their symptoms have disappeared. Those with a weakened immune system may remain contagious for several weeks.
How can I cure the flu fast?
Getting plenty of rest, drinking plenty of water, taking over-the-counter medication, and eating nutritious meals will form the perfect recipe to cure your flu.
How often should I wash my hands?
Handwashing is a very effective way of reducing the spread of viruses. Experts claim that individuals should wash their hands 6 to 10 times a day, specifically after using the toilet, before eating or handling foods, and after sneezing or coughing.
Flu Season 2023-2024
Seasonal flu is predicted to continue throughout 2023 and 2024 due to the resurgence of the virus in 2022. Although it is difficult to predict the severity of the expected flu season, it helps to prepare yourself. Make sure to invest in supplies, whether for your home or your office, to help prevent the spread of the virus. Most importantly, look after yourself and make healthy decisions anticipating flu season.