A Guide To Surviving The ‘Cold’ Season

November 19, 2012 1:00 pm

It’s that time of year once again and colds and flus are absolutely all over the place. With there being so many germs out there and so many ways that a cold or flu virus can spread, it’s inevitable that you’ll catch something at some point in your life. Usually when you really don’t want to- like when it’s your birthday or on the day out that you’ve been planning for months, or even on the first day of a new job, and yes, all of the above do apply to me. In fact, around 15 million people are affected by colds and flus in the UK each year, and in the last year alone, around 131 million days were taken off work due to sickness of one form or another.

So, with the odds being stacked so high against you is there nothing you can do to fight back against the cold and flu menace? Of course there is.

First of all look after yourself. Eating nutritionally, staying active and getting plenty of sleep all contribute to your body being fighting fit… it really is that simple. Since your immune system is one of the key things that fight back against anything invading your body that shouldn’t be there, it’s always a good idea to give it a boost of Vitamin C. This won’t prevent you from getting a cold but it may help reduce the amount of time you have the symptoms.

Wearing a coat and donning a hat, scarf and gloves may seem like something your mom would say but in this case she’s definitely right. Dressing appropriately for the weather can make a huge difference as it helps your body lock in heat and protects you that bit more from wet weather such as rain and snow, as well as the crisp winter cold, making it less likely for you to become ill.

The most important one is to wash your hands! This is the most effective way to stop colds and flus from spreading. You’d be shocked to know how many people nationwide still don’t wash their hands, up to half of all men and a quarter of women don’t wash their hands after going to the toilet and germs can stay alive on your hands for up to 3 hours, which can mean a lot of passing on virus in the meantime. Because of the importance of hand washing now being recognised, there are initiatives such as national hand washing day (15th October) and it is now being taught and reinforced in schools and nurseries so that children can get into the habit of good hygiene.

And as I’ve already said, if you’re anything like me, you will still catch a cold or the flu no matter how many precautions you take, because that’s how easily the virus can spread. So one of the best things you can do- especially if you have children- is to stock up on cold medicines and think about getting a flu shot from your GP. Flu shots are usually offered to asthma patients, pregnant women and the elderly as standard and just give your body a good defence against that pesky cold. As for stocking up… in my opinion as long as there are lemsips, cough medicine, throat sweets and tissues in the cupboard I say bring it on! Happy fighting.

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