Guest Post: Dr. Amy Bibby from Qure, shares five top tips on how to survive the cold and flu season.
That time of year has arrived once again; the days are shorter; the weather is colder and the germ count is rife. Everyone seems to be on high alert about catching ‘something’, whether that’s a dreaded bug, a cold or the flu. Despite the rise in germs, and the current news that we’re set for the worst bout of flu in years, there are precautions you can take to protect your family and yourself.
Here are five top tips to help you avoid the winter woes of a cold or the flu.
Get plenty of vitamin C / other vitamins
Vitamin C (also known as Ascorbic Acid) is a powerful antioxidant, protecting our body from harmful free radicals. Our bodies cannot synthesize vitamin C, we can only ingest it; however, it’s impossible to take too much as our bodies have control mechanisms that mean we’ll only absorb what we need. Studies have shown that taking high dose vitamin C at the outset of a cold can reduce the severity and length of your cold, though taking vitamin C won’t necessarily stop you getting a cold in the first place. Vitamin C also helps you absorb iron, which can help prevent anaemia, plus it boosts collagen production, reducing wrinkles if worn topically – a top tip for tired mums!
You can also get extra vitamins from dairy products such as milk, cheese and yoghurts. Eating/drinking dairy will help keep your immune system in top shape by providing it with protein, vitamin A and B12 and calcium. If you’re going to up your dairy intake, try low-fat or fat free products to ensure you’re keeping as healthy as possible.
Keeping warm with layers
It’s previously been hypothesised that being cold (particularly your nose) means that your blood vessels contract and therefore less of your body’s immune cells are circulated around the body. Even if it’s just a theory, it’s a good reason to dig out those winter woolies to wrap up warm when outside, and have a warm bath before bed – which also aids sleep.
Be the healthiest version of yourself
In order for your immune system to work well you need to make sure you’re the healthiest you can be; you need to get plenty of water, exercise, fruit and veg and most importantly sleep. A lack of sleep drastically reduces your body’s immune system capabilities. This is why when you have the flu you need to sleep so much – your body is trying to repair itself. By ensuring you’re taking the best care of yourself in the lead up to the colder months, you stand the best chance of avoiding or recovering quickly from winter bugs.
Good hand hygiene
Make sure you have really good hand hygiene around this time of year. Keep some hand gel handy for when you’re out and about. Places like your mobile phone, computer keyboard, door handles and public transport handrails harbour a multitude of germs so it’s best to be over cautious with protecting yourself. Always make sure you sneeze into a tissue and discard it into a bin straight away to prevent germs from spreading through the air.
While vaccines may seem like an obvious solution to preventing the flu, their importance should not be undermined. It’s of vital importance to be vaccinated if you fall into one of the following:
- 65 years old or over
- have a lung, heart, kidney, liver or neurological disease
- have a weakened immune system
- have diabetes
You can get a vaccine at your local surgery, or at a location most convenient to you, be that at work or at home, through the Qure app.
Qure is one of London’s newest and most innovative health services. It provides a speedy 24/7 ‘doctor to your door’ service via an app, offering affordable medical attention at the touch of a button. To find out more about Qure and its services, please visit:https://www.getqure.com/