Flu - All You Need To Know

    Flu - All You Need To Know







    Although it shares many of the same symptoms as a common cold, flu tends to be more severe. As anyone who has had it will testify.2 Flu comes on fast, with muscle aches and pains, headache and a fever.1 It can leave you feeling tired and fatigued for weeks.3

    Antibiotics kill bacteria, not the viruses that cause flu.3 So there's no point in asking your GP for one as they won't ease your symptoms or help you get better any faster.3 Instead, make sure you get lots of rest, drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated, eat healthily and try a tried and trusted over-the-counter flu remedy, designed to ease your flu symptoms.3

    We’ve outlined all the flu information you need below. It may help you to avoid it. But if you are unlucky enough to catch it, you can at least treat the symptoms and get back on the road to recovery.


    Same as catching a cold, you can breathe the flu virus in from the air, when someone who already has it sneezes, coughs or even talks near you.4 Infected droplets are sprayed from the mouth or nose and can travel up to two meters (six feet).4 These droplets can then get into the noses and mouths of people nearby, who then breathe them into their lungs.4

    They can also land on surfaces, where the virus can survive for up to 24 hours.3 Touching surfaces the droplets have landed on transfers the flu virus to your hands, which, if they you then touch your eyes, nose or mouth, gets the virus into your body.4

    The flu virus can live on all kinds of hard surfaces at home or work, or public places. Think door handles, remote controls, banisters, computer keyboards, phone/tablet screens, soft furnishings like sofas and curtains. It’s a good idea to wash your hands regularly with antibacterial handwash / soap / alcohol based sanitiser if you want to help avoid being infected or passing it on to anyone else.1


    Flu hits you quickly.3 You can be infected for up to four days before you develop flu symptoms, so you could be innocently infecting others a whole day before you have signs that you are unwell.4 Although you're at your most infectious three to four days after symptoms appear, you can still pass it on up to a week after your first signs.4

    There are measures you can take to cut the risk of catching flu, for yourself and others. Be careful when you come into contact with someone who’s infected.5 Wash your hands often with warm, soapy water or, if it isn't possible, use an alcohol-containing hand sanitiser.5 Avoid touching your nose or eyes as the viruses can easily enter your body this way.

    Use a disinfectant product to wipe down surfaces, especially in highly communal areas – door handles, kitchen surfaces, living areas.5 Take care to cover your nose and mouth with a disposable tissue when you sneeze, then throw it away immediately.3 Have others who live with you do the same, especially children.

    Some people are at increased risk of serious complications if they catch the flu.6 You can have an annual flu vaccination (flu jab).6 Everyone in the following at-risk groups should get a flu vaccination every year:6

    • Aged 65 years or over
    • Pregnant women
    • Have a long-term health problem, such as heart, lung, brain or kidney disease or cancer & diabetes
    • Living in care or nursing home
    • Have a weak immune system, for example, you are taking cancer medicines
    • Obese
    • Children with moderate to severe neuro-development problems, such as cerebral palsy
    • Down's Syndrome

    People who work in healthcare or who care for people who are at-risk of flu complications or who often come into contact with pigs, poultry or waterfowl, should also get an annual flu jab.6

    And remember, getting vaccinated doesn't protect you from every strain of virus going around, only the most common ones.6 Also, as the flu strains change every year, you need to get a new vaccine every year to protect yourself.6


    A sudden fever, aches or pains, sore throat, headache, fatigue and weakness come on quickly and are the first signs you could be coming down with flu.1,3 Other symptoms include loss of appetite, cough, difficulty sleeping, feeling sick or vomiting or even having diarrhoea and stomach pains.1,3 

    You'll probably feel at your worst three to five days after symptoms first start.5 Roughly within a week you should be starting to feel better but be aware that you could still be coughing or feeling exhausted for another couple of weeks.3


    Stomach or gastric flu, even though it's called flu, is not the same.7 Also known as viral gastroenteritis, stomach flu is caused by a variety of viruses or bacteria and develops after contact with an infected person or consuming contaminated food or water.7,8 Norovirus is the most common viral cause of gastroenteritis.7

    Although flu can cause diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting and stomach pains, infections like norovirus cause more severe and frequent symptoms.1,7

    HOW TO

    Flu is more severe than a cold, but many of the symptoms are the same. If you’re generally healthy and under age 65, you probably don’t need to see your doctor and can manage symptoms for yourself.3

    Consider seeing your GP if your symptoms are no better after a week or:3

    Otherwise, take care of yourself by:3

    you are 65 and over

    resting and sleeping

    you’re pregnant

    keeping warm

    you have an existing health problem, such as heart or lung condition

    drinking lots of fluid to stay hydrated

    you have a weak immune system

    taking painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen to ease your aches and pains and reduce fever

    you're worried about your symptoms - or your child's symptoms

    There are plenty of tried and trusted Lemsip products to help ease your symptoms. You can pick them up from your local pharmacy or supermarket. They have different strength active ingredients and formulations, to help specific symptoms. You can try Lemsip Max Sinus & Flu Hot Lemon Powder for Oral Solution or Lemsip Multi Relief Capsules, which contains pharmacy strength ingredients, so are not available for you to pick up directly off the shelf. Talk to your pharmacist about these, or if you're not sure what to take for your flu symptoms.


    If you’ve come down with flu, expect that it's going to take a while to recover.3

    Your symptoms will be at their worst between day three to five, but you should start to feel better by the end of a week.3 It's quite normal to feel extremely tired or have a cough for a couple of weeks longer.3



    1. Health Services Executive. Flu – symptoms and diagnosis. Accessed August 2020. https://www2.hse.ie/conditions/flu/flu-symptoms-and-diagnosis.html.
    2. Health Services Executive. Common cold. Accessed August 2020. https://www2.hse.ie/conditions/common-cold.html.
    3. Health Services Executive. Flu - treatment. Accessed August 2020. https://www2.hse.ie/conditions/flu/flu-treatment.html.
    4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. How flu spreads. Accessed August 2020. https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/disease/spread.htm.
    1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Preventative steps. Accessed August 2020. https://www.cdc.gov/flu/prevent/prevention.htm.
    2. Health Services Executive. Flu - vaccine. Accessed August 2020. https://www2.hse.ie/conditions/flu/flu-vaccination.html.
    3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Norovirus. Accessed August 2020. https://www.cdc.gov/norovirus/about/symptoms.html.
    4. Health Services Executive. Diarrhoea and vomiting. Accessed August 2020. https://www2.hse.ie/conditions/diarrhoea-and-vomiting.html.


    Lemsip Max Sinus & Flu Hot Lemon Powder for Oral Solution contains paracetamol and pseudoephedrine hydrochloride.

    Lemsip Multi-Relief Capsules contain paracetamol, phenylephrine hydrochloride and guaifenesin. For the relief of cold & flu symptoms, aches and pains, fever, sore throat, nasal congestion and chesty coughs.