What is Cool Running Rental’s role in preventing the flu?
We have a large fleet of refrigerated vans suitable for the pharmaceutical industry that are currently engaged in the fight against the flu by transporting the essential vaccines to where they are needed most. Our vans are compliant with the current standards for pharma transport, and are capable of keeping their precious medicinal cargo cold throughout the supply chain. To find out more about why chilled vans are needed for pharmaceutical transport click here to read our blog post explaining this.
All of our vans come fully serviced and importantly fully valeted, meaning that when you hire one of our vans you will receive a clean space to sit in, hopefully slowing the spread of the flu virus.
What is the flu and what causes it?
What is it?
Many people often confuse having the flu with the common cold, but in reality they are two very different viruses. Influenza is a contagious respiratory infection caused by flu viruses that travel through the air and enter the body through the nose or mouth.
Flu symptoms range from mild to severe and can include:
- Aching muscles
- Sore throat
These symptoms sound a lot like the common cold, but they manifest much faster and are more severe.
How is it spread?
The flu is spread primarily through someone infected with the virus coughing or sneezing into the air. Small droplets carrying the virus are dispersed and are inhaled by nearby people through the nose and mouth. The flu can also be spread via surfaces like doorknobs and keyboards if people have the virus on their hands and touch these items. If a healthy person touches the item then touches their eyes, nose or mouth, they are likely to become infected.
If you have been infected, then you are contagious up to a day before you begin to notice the symptoms – so you could be passing it along without even realising! You are also contagious for up to 7 days after becoming sick, with the most potent period being for the first 3-4 days. This is why hygiene is very important during flu season, as starting when you feel the effects of the virus might be too late!
How can you tell if you’ve got the flu, or just a cold?
Even if you only have a cold, it is still important to try to prevent spreading it, as no one will thank you for making the whole office sick, but to tell the difference between the infections we have created this simple table:
You may be experiencing some of the more serious symptoms of the flu when you have a cold, but remember, the flu is more severe. You will be exhausted, unable to perform daily tasks, and likely stuck in bed for at least a few days. If you don’t feel like you’re on death’s door, you probably don’t have the flu.
What are our top tips?
Get to know the flu.
Influenza comes in a number of forms. It is important to know what these are so you can spot them in people around you.
- Type A (Influenza) This is the most severe form of the flu, creating all of the symptoms listed above. Type A is capable of infecting animals but it is most commonly found in humans. It is common for wild birds to act as the hosts for this virus. It is highly versatile and is constantly evolving, causing pandemics in countries across the globe.
- Type B Only found in humans, Type B is less severe but still has the potential to be extremely harmful. It is considered lesser to Type A as it doesn’t often cause pandemics.
- Type C This is the least harmful strain of the flu. People do not often fall terribly ill from this, and may easily confuse it with a common cold.
The most common strain of the flu is Type A Influenza, which forms the base of famous flu viruses like Swine Flu and Aussie Flu that caused and are still causing major pandemics worldwide with fatal outcomes.
Get immunised, every year, on time.
By far the most effective method of combating the flu is to get immunised every year. Influenza is a constantly evolving beast and so it is vital to stay up to date. This is doubly true for people with vulnerable immune systems such as young children and the elderly, as they are far more likely to develop complications from the flu virus. The flu jab will be available to at risk groups free of charge on the NHS. It is vital to get the jab done as early as possible as it can take up to 2 weeks for the antibodies to develop and begin giving you their protection.
A key part of the flu vaccine is to stop the spread of the virus. If everybody had the jab the flu wouldn’t be able to manifest in a significant manner and so wouldn’t be able to cause widespread illness. This is doubly important for children, who spend hours in large groups and don’t understand how the virus is spread. You don’t want to be the parent whose child gave the whole class the flu!
To find out more about whether you are eligible for the free jab, click here.
Get out, get fit.
Your immune system needs exercise just like your muscles. Getting fit will help your body to fight off illnesses should you contract one. While we recommend you exercise regularly all-year round, it is more important in the run-up to, and during the flu season. Try swapping one small journey per day from a drive or bus ride, to a run or a cycle. Breaking a sweat every day will prepare you for the flu’s assault, and may also give you a little extra room for Christmas dinner.
Avoid crowded public spaces.
The flu spreads quickly when people get too close to each other. Confined and sealed spaces like trains and buses are breeding grounds for seasonal illnesses. With the windows battonned down against the winter weather the virus is contained in the vehicle awaiting a fresh host. As we recommend above, the ideal solution to this would be to cut out journeys on public transport all together, trading them in for a good long run or cycle. If you absolutely must take these methods of transport, wear a scarf, it will help with the cold weather and you can use it to cover your mouth and nose. While this might not pass surgical standards, it will help you to avoid breathing in the harmful virus.
It might sound like the obvious one, you’re clean all year right? When was the last time you disinfected your keyboard? Are the doorknobs squeaky clean? These are two of the biggest contributors to the spread of the flu virus. Get ahead of the game, get everything clean at home, and get the kids washing their hands at regular intervals throughout the day. It is also worth taking steps to be cleaner at work, take charge, and get everyone on board with preventing the flu virus. Get those keyboards scrubbed, set up a rota to wipe down communal areas regularly, and if someone’s got the flu, tell them to stay at home!