The NHS believes that up to 20% of the UK population suffers from flu each year, but how do we know if we are suffering from flu or from an ordinary common cold?
Facts about flu
- Flu (influenza or seasonal influenza) is highly infectious and is spread by breathing in droplets from the air that contain the virus. These come from the coughs and sneezes of infected people.
- Symptoms come on quickly and include tiredness, fever, aching muscles and shivering. Flu can make people feel too unwell to continue their usual activities. Symptoms will usually peak after two to three days, although sufferers may have a lingering cough and feel very tired for a further two to three weeks.
- Flu is caused by a virus, so antibiotics cannot be used to treat it.
Facts about colds
- A cold is a mild viral infection of the nose, throat, sinuses and upper airways. It is very common and usually clears up on its own within a week or two.
- The main symptoms of a cold include a sore throat, a blocked or runny nose, sneezing and a cough. More severe symptoms including a high temperature, headache and aching muscles, although these tend to be associated more with flu.
How to manage colds and flu for good health in the workplace
While it is almost inevitable that employees will experience colds from time to time, and even flu in some cases, promoting health in the workplace can help to stop the spread and ensure that key staff members are able to perform well while they are at work. Making sure that illness is kept to a minimum will also help to reduce the cost of sickness absence.
At Medigold Health, we are experts at promoting health in the workplace. First, we will help to explain the differences between colds and flu so that people know how to treat their illness and prevent it from spreading. As well as confirming when staff should come to work and when they are better off staying home to recuperate, we will offer practical advice on how to prevent colds and flu, including information on flu jabs.