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How To Stay Well In The Cold Season

How To Stay Well In The Cold Season

The cold season is upon us! You can’t help but to have noticed that in recent weeks, the temperature has dropped ever so slightly. Naturally, this will cause us to worry about our health for the next few months, leading us to wrap up in warmer clothes and perhaps even see us browsing the pharmacy shelves for products to offer us some support.

If you’re looking to learn more about the effects of the cold season – and how to confront their symptoms – read on for our tips.

The Effects of The Cold Season

Despite the name, you ‘being cold’ does not have a direct influence over the creation of a virus. You can actually catch a cold at any time of the year – there are many different types of cold viruses that exist in all manner of weather. Cold and flu are viral pathogens which means they are created when passed from person-to-person.  They can be spread through contact with an infected person, by airborne droplets (from a cough or sneeze) or even be picked up from a surface that has been subjected to infectious bugs (cold viruses can actually live for up to 24 hours on a surface).

The trouble is that whilst cold weather is not a direct cause of cold and flu, it does provide the ideal conditions for the majority of the viruses to thrive in – hence why they are illnesses that are more commonly experienced during the autumn and winter. This is why early-October to late-February is generally considered as ‘the cold season’ – it is the period when the temperature is at its coldest, which allows for viruses to spread more than they would usually do.

Sadly, there is no cure for either cold or flu, the best we can do is to try and avoid picking up viruses and if we do get them, try to manage their symptoms before they get worse – something that according to Public Health England, honey and over-the-counter medicine may help with.

Why Has PHE Given This Advice?

Working alongside PHE, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) have published draft outlines to offer advice for people suffering with acute coughs. Part of the reason for their advice is to cut down on the number of antibiotic medicine that is misprescribed to patients.

Antibacterial medicine has no effect on cold and flu and in fact, taking them could potentially help other bugs to eventually grow a resistance to the medicine, rendering them useless against viruses that could do us serious harm. With careful management, the vast majority of cold and flu bugs will go away within 2-3 weeks anyway.

Quick Tips On Carefully Managing A Cold

Wash your hands! With pesky bugs having a relatively long life upon any kind of surface, picking up a cold and flu virus is extremely easy. This is why it’s important to think about hand cleanliness during the cold season – and knowing how to wash your hands correctly. You should always wash your hands after a sneeze or whenever you use the toilet, handle raw food or having contact with animals (including pets). Always use warm water, soap or hand sanitiser and follow the NHS’ technique to washing your hands to ensure the eradication of any lingering germs.

Drink plenty of water. Keeping up our hydration levels is important all year round of course; 6-8 glasses of water a day maintains the natural levels of fluid contained within our bodies, helping with correct function of the kidneys and flushing out any toxins that may accumulate. During winter, dehydration will make mucus (the substance that protects the lungs) drier and thicker, leaving the body less able to keep out any bacteria and the viruses that follow.

Rest! Sleep is designed to boost our energy levels, giving the body ample time to reorganise itself and recharge. A lack of sleep has long been linked with a weak immune system – so get plenty of rest!

Using over-the-counter medicines/natural health products. If you do manage to pick up a cold and flu virus and take the advice given by PHE and NICE, searching for an over-the-counter medicine or a natural health product, always make sure that you do plenty of research into anything you’re looking to use, in order to ensure they are right for you.