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Winter Health

Achoo - cold & flu season

Tis the season – No, I’m not talking about Christmas (I hear you breathe a sigh of relief), I am of course talking about cold and flu season…

We are all more susceptible to coughs and colds at this time of year, but there are simple things that we can do to boost our immune system and stay healthy.

Follow these steps for a healthy season:

  • Wash your hands! Its simple, wash your hands with soap and water after using the toilet, before & after eating and when coming in from outside (especially where you have come into contact with a lot of things that harbour germs like telephones and door handles).
  • Clean Up – Many of us are obsessed with 99.9% of germ killing cleaning & toiletry type products. But in many cases they are unnecessary. The advice is to be clean and hygienic especially in household hotspots like kitchens and bathrooms – but don’t try and achieve sterile conditions…
  • Flu Jab – Many people are entitled to a yearly flu jab as part of an NHS programme – the elderly, if you are pregnant, young children, teachers/carers, those with compromised immune systems or those with illnesses such as asthma – check with your local Doctors/Pharmacy and discuss whether you need the jab.
  • Diet/Weight – Being underweight or overweight makes you more susceptible to catching viruses. Eating a balanced diet, including an array of fruit and vegetables in all colours provides building blocks for our immune systems.
  • Smoking/Drinking – This time of year, with celebrations, office parties and dare I say it – Christmas, means we often indulge in more alcohol and the social occasions often increase the amount we smoke. Be mindful of both – smokers get more colds than any other group of people, the toxic chemicals in cigarettes do naturally supress the immune system. Equally alcohol indirectly affects the white blood cells, which compromises immunity.
  • Me Time – Take time for yourself on a daily basis, which will help to manage your stress levels. When you are stressed blood pressure rises through constricted blood vessels and you release the hormone cortisol, this in turn weakens your immune system. Exercise – the act of exercising transports oxygen around your body which enables white blood cells to fight off bacteria more effectively.

If after all of these points you still succumb, then sometimes the natural remedies are the best – hot honey & lemon to drink and steaming water to inhale. If you are at all concerned seek advice from your Pharmacist or GP.