With the number of people suffering from colds, coughs and flu rising rapidly at the moment, it is more important than ever that the public help themselves and each other by practicing good hand hygiene.
Believe it or not, one of the most effective ways of protecting yourself is by remembering the simple phrase:
CATCH IT – Always carry tissues and use them to cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze.
BIN IT – Dispose of used tissues as soon as possible.
KILL IT – Clean your hands with soap and water as soon as you can and make sure you wash them frequently. If you have no washing facilities, make use of an alcohol gel.
Dr Andy Carson, the Trust’s Medical Director, said:
“Almost everyone will get a cough or cold at some point this winter. When it’s your turn or someone in your family or a friend, you can play a vital role in reducing the chance of the germs spreading.
Studies have shown that respiratory infections are reduced in groups of people who practice good hand and respiratory hygiene measures.
Cold and flu germs can live on your hands and in tissues for hours for hours, meaning they can be easily transmitted. Just a few simple steps can help prevent the viruses from spreading.
The advice is also likely to have a positive effect on other diseases such as Norovirus which leads to diarrhoea and vomiting.
Sadly there is nothing that the ambulance service, A&E or your GP can prescribe which will help you through your cough or cold; you just have to tough it out. Use over the counter medicines, keep yourself hydrated and warm as well as getting plenty of rest.
Please also remember that it is not too late to get a flu jab which will protect you from having a really miserable two weeks. Catching the flu is nothing like having a cold, even a bad one.
Make sure you do everything you can to prevent yourself having a miserable festive season by practicing good hand hygiene and having a flu jab.”
The important things to remember:
- It isn’t too late to have a free flu jab at your GP surgery if you are over 65; have an underlying health condition; are pregnant or care for someone that has an underlying health condition (check with your GP surgery)
- Don’t expect antibiotics. They won’t work. Colds and flu are caused by viruses and antibiotics only work on bacterial infections
- Keep paracetamol or ibuprofen-based pain and fever treatment or cold remedies in the house. They will help with the symptoms of both colds and flu
- Sneeze into a tissue and put it straight in the bin – don’t carry it around to reuse over and over again!
- Have good hand hygiene – always wash hands with soap and water, particularly after sneezing and blowing your nose. Take the time to dry them properly as wet hands harbour and spread germs
- Keep surfaces clean, in your kitchen, on your desk.