Cold and flu viruses spread easily from person to person – you can become infected either by breathing in tiny droplets containing the virus (produced when someone with the virus sneezes, coughs or speaks) or by touching a surface contaminated by the infected person, and then touching your nose or eyes.
The following simple steps can help protect yourself and your family from colds and flu and stop the germs spreading:
- Frequently wash your hands with soap and water.
- Use a hand sanitiser to destroy the germs on your hands when soap and water are not available.
- Clean and disinfect surfaces regularly, especially the surfaces that people often touch with their hands (e.g. handles, taps and kitchen work surfaces).
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing.
- Put your used tissues in a bin and wash your hands thoroughly afterwards.
Make sure that those at most risk from flu have a flu vaccination, to avoid complications like bronchitis and pneumonia.
How to tell whether you have a cold or the flu:
- With the flu, you are more likely to have a fever, headache, muscle aches, extreme tiredness and a dry cough.
- Cold symptoms are usually mild. With a cold, your main symptom is likely to be a blocked or runny nose.