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A pharmacist's top tips for beating the flu

Here's a five-point preventative plan to keep you flu-free.

02 March 2020
by The Clicks Health Team

Thousands of South Africans were laid low with flu last year, as a particularly nasty strain of the Influenza A (H1N1) virus – previously known as “swine flu” – hit our shores. If you had it, you will remember the discomfort of the symptoms, the inconvenience of having to miss work, the expenses involved in getting medical care, and the disruption to your regular routine.

But what about the people who deal with flu-addled customers all day, preparing their medication while they sniffle and sneeze at the counter? Do pharmacists have any ‘insider’s tips’ on how to avoid getting sick during flu season? We chatted to Clicks Pharmacy Manager Brenda Florence about how her team stays hale and hearty.

1. Get the flu vaccination

One of the main reasons that people don’t get the flu vaccination every year is the myth that the vaccination works by “making you sick” with flu. This is simply impossible, as the vaccine doesn’t contain the live flu virus. Although no vaccine can ever be 100% effective, getting the shot remains an excellent first line of defence. 

2. Boost your immune system

A strong immune system is essential for keeping flu at bay. “Go for vitamin C, selenium, echinacea and zinc to boost the body’s natural defenses,” says Florence. Furthermore, it is important to supplement your diet with a comprehensive multivitamin, as “the soil [our food is grown in] is so depleted of nutrients”.

3. Over-the-counter remedies

If you start to feel flu symptoms, over-the-counter medication can be extremely helpful in relieving fever, reducing pain and stopping the virus in its tracks. “Just be sure to speak to your pharmacist about your symptoms and underlying conditions before taking any medication,” advises Florence.

4. Lifestyle choices

A diet high in vitamin C will help bolster your body’s natural defences during flu season. Avoid sugary, fatty foods as these can suppress the immune system, while too much dairy can lead to mucus production. Try to get two to three hours of exercise per week, and “be sure to sleep enough”, reminds Florence, as exhausted bodies are especially prone to getting sick.

5. Basic hygiene

The importance of basic hygiene in combating colds and flu cannot be emphasised enough. Wash your hands regularly – particularly before preparing or eating food – and throw all used tissues away into a closed bin. Cover your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing, and do not share utensils.

Get Vaccinated at one of 400 Clicks Pharmacies

A strong immune system is a vital prevention measure against viruses. Getting the flu vaccine is one of the most effective ways to boost your immunity and protect your family against infection.

Book an appointment for a flu vaccination at a Clicks Clinic by calling 0860 254 257 or follow the link to the online booking portal: clinicbookings.clicks.co.za

The good news is that most medical aids now cover the flu vaccination and sometimes even reward members. Contact your medical aid scheme for eligibility.

Take note that the following people cannot get vaccinated:

  • Babies younger than 6 months
  • Anyone allergic to eggs
  • Anyone who already has a fever
  • Anyone who has shown a past reaction to a vaccine

We have increased our flu vaccination footprint to over 400 Clicks pharmacies. See the list of Clicks pharmacies here.

For more info visit clicks.co.za/fighttheflu or speak to your Clicks pharmacist.

Shop now at Clicks.co.za for cold and flu remedies

To help you ward off colds and the flu, or recover from them, Clicks pharmacists have selected the most trustworthy and affordable products for you to purchase online. These include a wide range of vitamins and supplements and cough, cold and flu remedies.

IMAGE CREDIT: 123rf.com


Read More: Flu Super Section