From fending off viruses to maintaining a healthy lifestyle, there is a lot to get to grips with when it comes to looking after your wellbeing. To help ensure you’re clued up, here are the answers to three common health questions.
1. Should I have a flu jab?
With winter setting in, cases of the flu are set to rise. This virus, which can range from mild to severe and potentially even fatal, is spread by sneezes and coughs and it’s especially common during the colder months. If you’re worried about catching it, you might be wondering if now’s the time to book yourself in for a flu vaccination. Medical experts recommend that anyone who is at risk of developing complications as a result of the virus (such as pneumonia or bronchitis) should have a jab. The groups considered to be most in danger include pregnant women, people over the age of 65 and those with an underlying medical problem. Frontline healthcare and social workers are also advised to get vaccinated.
So, if you fall into one of these categories, it’s probably wise for you to arrange a flu jab. If you’re not sure whether or not to get vaccinated, speak to your doctor.
2. Does the emergency contraceptive pill have to be taken the ‘morning after’?
Because it’s often referred to as the ‘morning after pill’, it’s tempting to assume that the emergency contraceptive pill is only effective when taken within 12 to 24 hours of unprotected sex. In fact though, this isn’t the case. As health experts Online Doctor LloydsPharmacy note, there are two types of emergency contraceptive pill – Levonelle and ellaOne. Levonelle is effective for up to three days after unprotected sex, while ellaOne is effective for up to five days.
However, it’s important to bear in mind that the sooner you take either of these types of pill, the more effective they are likely to be. If you have had unprotected sex and want to avoid a pregnancy, it’s essential that you speak to your doctor or a pharmacist as soon as possible.
3. How can I avoid high blood pressure?
Also known as hypertension, high blood pressure if left untreated can increase your risk of a range of potentially serious health problems, including heart disease, heart attacks, strokes, kidney disease, vascular dementia and heart failure. If you want to tackle high blood pressure or reduce the risk of developing it in the first place, certain lifestyle changes can help. For example, it’s best to limit the amount of salt in your diet and cut back on alcohol if you drink excessively. It’s also useful to reduce your caffeine intake, and if you smoke, consider giving up. Regular exercise is important too, and try to ensure you get a minimum of six hours’ sleep a night.
As well as following this advice, you should keep tabs on your blood pressure. Bear in mind that anyone over the age of 40 is advised to get theirs tested at least every five years. If you’re found to have high blood pressure and you can’t manage this through lifestyle changes, your doctor might have to prescribe you certain medicines.
* This post was made in collaboration with LloydsPharmacy.*