Navigating the Waves of Seasonal Flu

Categories: Healthcare March 26, 2024
Navigating the Waves of Seasonal Flu with a background of some pathogens with a warning sign stating 'Flu season ahead'

Influenza, commonly known as the flu, is a viral infection notorious for wreaking havoc on the respiratory system. Every year, this contagious illness affects millions of people worldwide, leading to a substantial number of severe cases and, sadly, even fatalities… The UK has witnessed a surge in seasonal flu cases in recent weeks, placing significant strain on healthcare facilities and leaving thousands in hospital with the virus. In this blog, we delve into the nature of influenza, its symptoms, causes, and, most importantly, effective strategies for prevention and treatment.

Getting to grips with the basics

Flu is an acute respiratory infection caused by influenza viruses that travel through the air in droplets. Most people get the flu when they breathe in these airborne droplets, for instance, when an infected person sneezes or coughs. The flu virus is notorious for its ability to mutate rapidly, making it challenging for the immune system to recognise and combat it effectively. The most common types of influenza viruses that are known to affect humans are influenza A, B and C. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), there are approximately a billion cases of seasonal flu each year, causing 3-5 million instances of severe illnesses.[1]

Spotting the symptoms

Influenza is an infection of the nose, throat and lungs, which are all part of the respiratory system.  Cold and flu symptoms can be similar, but flu tends to be more severe – and tends to come on much more quickly. At first, the flu may seem like a cold with a runny nose, sneezing and sore throat, but the flu also tends to cause fever as well as a range of other symptoms. Early recognition of these symptoms is crucial for prompt treatment, especially for higher-risk groups such as pregnant women, individuals over 65, and young children..

Common flu symptoms include:

+ Fever: A fever is a trademark symptom of the flu, often indicating the body’s response to viral infection. It is essential to monitor body temperature and seek medical attention if a fever persists.

+ Dry Cough: A persistent, dry cough is another common respiratory symptom. This can be severe and lead to discomfort and, in some cases, can impact daily activities.

+ Sore Throat: The flu can cause irritation and inflammation in the throat, leading to a sore throat – often one of the first symptoms of flu.

+ Body Aches: Muscle and joint aches are frequent complaints in individuals suffering with influenza. These aches can contribute to fatigue and discomfort.

+ Fatigue: Influenza can result in profound fatigue, making it challenging for individuals to carry out their routine tasks. This is why rest becomes essential for recovery.

Top prevention strategies

Given the widespread prevalence of influenza, adopting effective prevention strategies is paramount. Here are  key measures to protect yourselves and others:

+ Rest and Hydration: Adequate rest and hydration play a crucial role in supporting the immune system’s ability to fend off the virus. It is important to ensure you get enough sleep and drink plenty of fluids, such as water, herbal teas, and broths.

+ Hand Hygiene: Influenza is often transmitted through respiratory droplets and by touching contaminated surfaces. Regular handwashing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after coughing or sneezing, can significantly reduce the risk of infection. While traditional handwashing with soap and water remains a cornerstone in maintaining hand hygiene, other methods have gained popularity due to their convenience. Alcohol-based sanitisers are widely used for their effectiveness; Hygea Hand Wipes offer a clinically proven solution, killing 99.999% of bacteria. These wipes have been specifically developed for quick hand cleansing and disinfection, making them a practical choice for various scenarios, including or bed-bound patients and healthcare workers with limited access to a sink.

+ Cough Etiquette: When coughing or sneezing, you should always cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or the inside of your elbow. Dispose of tissues and wash your hands immediately to prevent the spread of the virus through respiratory droplets.

+ Surface Cleaning: Influenza viruses can survive on hard surfaces for up to 24 hours. Regularly clean and disinfect high touch points such as doorknobs, light switches and countertops to reduce the risk of surface transmission. The Super Sani-Cloth® Wipes offer a practical solution for daily use in fast-paced environments. These wipes are effective against a broad spectrum of pathogens, making them versatile and suitable for a variety of settings. Our Sani-Cloth® Chlor sporicidal disinfection wipes are specially formulated for use in high-risk, contaminated environments, offering an ideal solution for scenarios where a higher level of protection is needed.

+ Vaccination: One of the most effective ways to guard against influenza is getting an annual flu vaccine. Vaccination not only reduces the risk of contracting the virus but also lessens the severity of symptoms if you do get infected…

Proudly Made in Britain

With winter in full flow, the season brings with it an inevitable uptick in flu cases. While maintaining good hand hygiene remains a crucial measure in preventing the spread of infections, it is essential to recognise that additional layers of infection control can significantly enhance prevention efforts, particularly in high-risk settings.

As a proud member of Made in Britain, PDI offers a comprehensive range of clinically proven disinfection wipes and products. These not only ensure efficacy but also prioritise quality and value. All PDI products are proudly manufactured in the UK, adhering to stringent standards that guarantee their effectiveness in combating influenza and other infectious viruses.

For more info on influenza, check out our Bitesize Learning series: Let’s Magnify…Influenza. Gain insights into how influenza spreads, its symptoms, and prevention strategies, and explore our range of Made in Britain products that effectively combat this pathogen.