The cold and flu season is in full-swing, so we've spoken to the experts to find out if there's anything we can do to make symptoms vanish more quickly...
1. ‘Echinacea is a traditional herb known to aid the body in its fight against the symptoms of cold and flu. Try a supplement to support your immune system, helping to maintain the body’s resistance,’ says A.Vogel nutritional therapist Alison Cullen.
2. ‘Try drinking green tea,’ says Alison Cullen. ‘It’s rich in many chemicals that have been shown to have health-protective properties.’
3. ‘Avoid sugar, as it competes with vitamin C, which is good for the immune system,’ says Alison Cullen. ‘If you have lots of sugar, you undermine your immune system.’
4. ‘Vitamin C with zinc has been shown to reduce the severity of the symptoms of a cold if taken for five days,’ says GP Dr Sohere Roked. ‘The recommended dose is 1000mg of vitamin C and 10mg of zinc.’ We’ve compiled a list the best supplements for busy women.
5. ‘The last thing you will feel like doing when you have a cold is exercising, but a study has shown that going on a 45-minute walk when you don’t normally do much exercise boosts your immune system. The effect can last for up to three hours,’ says Dr Sohere Roked.
6. ‘Having beta glucans in your diet – found in baker’s yeast, oats, rye, barley, wheat and shiitake mushrooms – or in supplement form on a daily basis has been shown to reduce both bacterial infections and viruses. And, if taken when unwell, beta glucans can actually shorten the length of the illness,’ says Dr Sohere Roked. Check out our list of immune-boosting foods to add to your diet.
7. ‘Get plenty of lysine, an essential amino acid that works to boost the immune system and helps stimulate the body’s own antibodies to fight illness,’ says Dr Sohere Roked. ‘It’s found in plain yoghurt and skimmed milk, apricots, dried apples and mangos, and fish.’
8. ‘Start taking probiotics,’ says Dr Sohere Roked. ‘A 2012 study showed that people with colds recover more quickly and have less severe symptoms when they take them.’
9. ‘To soothe your throat, make a hot water drink with honey, ginger and lemon,’ says Dr Sohere Roked.
11. ‘You could also try sleeping with the window open, as germs and viruses can breed more quickly in warm temperatures,’ says Angela Chalmers. ‘It’s a myth that cold weather causes a cold, and keeping fresh air circulating will help create a healthier sleeping environment.’
12. ‘Put vapour rub on the soles of your feet and wear socks on top,’ says Angela Chalmers. ‘Many people swear by this to help relieve a cough at night.’
13. ‘Drink plenty of fluids, as it’s easy to get dehydrated when you’re ill due to fluid loss caused by having a high temperature and increased nasal secretions,’ says Angela Chalmers.’
14. ‘Steam inhalation may sound old-fashioned, but it’s a powerful way to help clear mucus and soothe irritated airways,’ says Angela Chalmers.
15. ‘Studies on chicken soup have shown that it may have anti-inflammatory properties, though this is probably due to its warming effects and the fact that you are taking in more fluid,’ says Dr Laura Ginesi of Birmingham City University. ‘Try making a big batch when you’re well, and freezing it so that it’s ready when you need it.’
16. ‘Try a warm compress,’ says Dr Laura Ginesi. ‘A hot flannel, wrung out and placed on your forehead and over the bridge of your nose, may help to relieve some of the pressure from blocked sinuses.’
17. ‘Gargling salt water or sucking lozenges that contain menthol or eucalyptus may sooth a sore throat,’ says Dr Annabel Bentley, medical director at Bupa.
18. ‘Try to get enough rest,’ says Dr Annabel Bentley. ‘It can help you get over the worst.’
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