Every year, the cold and flu viruses strike a large number of people in the cooler months. But not many people are aware of the difference between the two, what the causes of cold and flu are, and what can be done to protect our families from these illnesses.
A cold is often a mild viral infection affecting the nose and throat. It is a common illness and can happen to anybody. It clears up on its own within just a few days. Cold symptoms include:
Meanwhile, the flu is a respiratory infection brought on by the influenza virus. The symptoms of flu make themselves seen suddenly and they are similar to a common cold, but are more severe. Flu can also lead to more serious health problems such as pneumonia. When flu strikes, it is important to rest well. If you have flu, you will suffer from the following:
A common myth is that cold and flu are the result of colder temperatures. Coincidentally, the number of people affected by these viruses does increase during the cooler months. But only the cold and flu viruses cause the cold or flu. These viruses have many different strains and all of them are highly contagious. Thus, it is important to understand how to protect our families from them.
The common ways to contract cold and flu:
- A surface contaminated with the viruses and which are then inadvertently touched to the mouth, eyes or nose.
- Inadvertently inhaling the virus when an infected person sneezes or coughs close by.
Tips for cold and flu prevention
The best way to get better from a cold or flu is to rest and stay hydrated, apart from taking steps to protect our families from getting ill in the first place. You can prevent the spread of the flu and cold virus thus:
- Sanitise your home. Objects and surfaces contaminated with harmful germs are touched by many hands and the germs are passed around. One may touch their eyes, nose or mouth with dirty hands and get the virus. You can break this cycle of transmission and disinfect the surfaces and door handles in your house with anti-bacterial wipes. At work, you can disinfect surfaces such as your computer keyboard & phone.
- Sneeze and cough in a tissue. Always carry a kerchief or tissue when you suffer from a flu or cold but are out of doors. Always cover your mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. This stops the viruses from being expelled into the air and infecting others. Throw all used tissues in the trash bin immediately, and clean your hands with hand wash such as Dettol Original Liquid Hand Wash.
- Avoid touching your face. Cold and flu viruses enter the body when you touch your contaminated hands to your eyes, nose or mouth. Avoid touching these areas unless you wash or sanitise your hands first.
- Use your own crockery, cutlery, napkins, etc. As strange as it appears to others, you can limit the spread of infection by actually doing so. The flu virus takes a few days to settle in your body, so be cautious if you suspect that you have it, and do not share personal items. Follow the same practice also to keep yourself safe from other ill persons.
- Keep your clothes fresh. Not just your skin and body, even your clothes can have harmful germs clinging on. So if you or a family member has been ill with flu or cold, wash your clothes after every use and add Dettol Antiseptic Liquid to your laundry load to kill any straggling germs.
- Look after yourself. Keep your immune system happy and healthy by eating a balanced diet and making sure you and your family are getting enough sleep. Also try to avoid close contact with those suffering with cold or flu.
- Practice good hand hygiene. The hands are always the first ones to make you ill – the germs on the hands are passed around to other people and surfaces very easily. The best way to stop this spread of infection is to practice good hand. Wash your hands frequently with warm water and Dettol Original Liquid Hand Wash – this stops the spread of flu and cold viruses. If you are away from soap and water, try Dettol Liquid Hand Sanitiser to kill bad germs on the hands.
- Teach your children good hygiene. Children in close contact with each other in school or at play are more likely to spread the highly contagious cold and flu viruses. Teach your children good hand and personal hygiene habits, and remind them to wash their hands as often as possible even at school. Find more information in our step-by-step handwashing guide here.
Cold and flu viruses are very contagious. It pays to be aware of their symptoms and how they spread, so a few extra precautions can protect you and your loved ones. Don’t forget to rest well, drink enough water and wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water to prevent the spread of harmful germs.