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What to do when you have a cold?

It's COLD & FLU Season! #WisdomWednesday

As I was hit earlier in the week with a cold, I thought I would share my advice for coping with and preventing colds as the winter comes.

My top tips for coping with a cold:

1. Drink plenty of fluids. Water is best, but anything will do. Sometimes water tastes funky when you're ill so try adding diluting juice to water or having tea of flat 7UP. Lemsip is great if you are suffering with a headache, fever or sore throat (and you can get versions that help with blocked sinuses and coughs now too!). My favourite drink when I'm sick is the juice of an orange with a squeeze of honey and hot water. You can add lemon juice or ginger to taste if you like.

2. Prioritise rest. Make sure you're getting 6-8 hours of sleep every night. If you are unwell, try to get more sleep- head to bed earlier or during the day if you can. Aside from sleep, rest is important too. Take some things off your to-do list and take a rest on the sofa or in bed.

3. Remember to eat (if you can). Your immune system is burning lots of energy fighting off illness, so even if you feel as though you've been lazy, you still need to eat. Choose foods that will fill you up, but are suitable with your symptoms. Plain carbs are best for an upset tummy- toast, pasta or mashed potato. Soft foods and cold foods are best for a sore throat- ice-cream, soup, mashed potato. Even if you don't feel hungry, it is important to eat when ill.

4. Boost your nutrition if you're up to it. Although plain carbs are easier on the tummy, they are not a nutritionally complete meal. If you feel like you can't eat much, taking a supplement might be worthwhile. If you can eat, soups and stews are great- add plenty of veg and stick in the slow cooker for an easy but nutritious and filling meal. Smoothies also work well, especially lovely if you have a sore throat! You don't have to worry too much about nutrients, but having some fruit and veg can definitely help.

5. Get moving. Light exercise can help with immune response and therefore could reduce the length of your illness. Remember to wrap up if you are venturing outdoors and keep it light to moderate. A short walk, stretch or yoga routine are ideal. Don't over do it.

6. Don't mope in PJs all day. Although rest is important and necessary, I do not recommend staying in PJs for the duration of an illness. Research indicates that patients who get up and dressed every morning have a shorter duration of illness than those who remain in PJs all day. So, get up, have a shower and get dressed as normal- even if you stick on a tracksuit! You'll feel better for it.

7. Talk to your pharmacist. Cold and flu cannot be treated with anti-biotics, but some over the counter products can help with symptoms (and help you to feel less miserable). Your pharmacist will be able to advise on what will be best for you. Remember to mention any medications you are taking, as even OTC products can cause drug interactions.

While you are at your pharmacy it is worth your while asking about the flu vaccine. The flu can be much more serious than people often think, and the vaccine is a safe and effective way to prevent it. Some high risk members of the population have access to the vaccine for free, (such as over 65s, pregnant women and carers) so be sure to check your eligibility.

Hopefully these tips will help and you'll be right as rain after a few days!

Lots of love,

Little O x

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