Stave off the Flu
A cold or flu can attack at any time of year but they always seem to have a cheeky way of showing their nasty colours when you least want them to, like when you’ve a week off work, a holiday away, or a big party planned … winter, spring, summer or fall (yes I know us Irish call it autumn but ‘fall’ just sits so nicely into that sentence) … those pesky infections can favour them all.
Colds and Flu’s are very different from each other, however. Although they are both viral infections, a cold usually runs its course after your nose has run for about a week or so. You’ll often hear the phrase a ‘common cold’, which is very apt because not only are they a very common infection to catch, but also because there are so many strains of the ‘common cold’ that there are no vaccinations against it and no cure!
The Flu on the other hand, is actually a viral infection caused by the influenza virus, a respiratory virus. The Flu can get quite serious because it attacks your lungs affecting respiratory function, joints and intestines (often leading to vomiting and diarrhea, mostly in children). There is a vaccination against it.
So what can you do to prevent getting a cold or flu? Nothing probably! In my view if you’re gonna catch a virus … you’re gonna catch a virus! I do however think that how quickly you recover and how badly it affects you, are the things you have some control over.
So for all those who need some advice and those who need some reminding, here are the best tips found for What to do to help stave off a flu!
- Stock up on Vitamin C – Found in red and green hot chili peppers, bell peppers, broccoli, Cauliflower, Brussels Sprouts, Kiwi Fruits, Oranges and Strawberries.
- Get enough Sleep – Lack of sleep can affect your immune system making you more susceptible to catching a cold or virus.
- Exercise – Keeping fit will help you build your immunity and help stave off the flu or fight back if it does catch you. Try get out in the fresh air when you can. If it’s not for a brisk walk then even for some gardening.
- Don’t Stress – Stress can effect everyone differently but what it does to us all is attack our immune system making it easier for us to get run down and catch colds and viruses so find time to relax and unwind.
- Wash your Hands – Keep your hands clean. It’s obvious but you don’t want to catch or pass those germs around.
- Keep Hydrated – This is a rule we should keep to year round but when it comes to flu time it helps to flush out bad toxins.
- Try Peppermint – It’s known to help sooth sore throats, is a decongestant and can be used either in tea or as a menthol chest rub!
- Take Echinacea – It’s a herb. I use the drops (approx 15 in a glass of water) but it can be found in tablet form too. You’ll find it in most good Health Shops. For more info click here.
- Stock up on Vitamin D – Made naturally by your body in sunshine or sunlight in the case of us Irish. It can also be found in oily fish and dairy products.
- Eat Garlic – Apparently it has been proven that Allicin, which can be found in crushed garlic helps prevent against colds. Nom nom! You can find more info on it here.
If you do find yourself feeling ‘under the weather’ and need some advice before you make an appointment to see your GP, there’s a website called ‘Under the Weather‘ by the HSE in Ireland which could prove useful, but please remember that self diagnosing isn’t always the answer so do get professional medical advice if your symptoms persist!