Tips to avoid catching the Flu in London

For the average Londoner, catching a seasonal cold, sore throat or a nasty flu during the winter months is to be expected. People think that travelling on the underground network, is one of the most likely places you will pick up a cold, cough or flu, but really these germs and viruses could be anywhere like door handles, card machines etc.

Cold and flu are spread through sneezes and coughs and by touching surfaces with germs. During the cold weather, when the effectiveness of our immune systems is reduced, these viruses affect our nose and throat and can produce symptoms like nasal and chest congestion, headaches, muscle pains, hacking coughs and high temperatures.

We've got some stay-well tips for you to keep the germs away...

How to beat the cold/flu germs:

1.Wash hands regularly
This is one of the surest ways to keep the flu germs away as much as possible. If you feel your hands get dry often, you could also moisturise with a good hand cream.

2. Carry hand sanitiser gel or wipes
These are usually stocked near the tills at Boots, Superdrug and all the supermarkets, so make sure you have some handy on you all the time. 

3. Wear the right clothing 
The weather can be pretty harsh on the body during the winter months, especially when you have to battle elements like rain and high winds on top of freezing temperatures. Make sure you dress up warm when needed and carry appropriate accessories like scarves, gloves, hats, umbrellas. Most of the time you are popping in and out of heated-up places like tube stations, restaurants, shops etc, so dress in a way you can adjust your layers to be comfortable. 

4. Stop touching your nose and eyes 
Even though you will end up unconsciously touching your face more than hundred times a day, it i worth noting that germs can enter your body through rubbing your eyes, nose and by putting your fingers in your mouth. If you make it a point to reduce this, you could minimise your chances of getting sick.

5. Avoid alcohol 
Drinking suppresses your immune system and leaves you  more vulnerable to falling sick. Limit the alcohol and give your body the best chance of fending off the germs.

6. Flu vaccine
There is no effective cure for a cold, however you could reduce the risk of getting a flu by having the flu vaccine from a pharmacy or GP clinic. It isn't 100% effective and you may experience some side effects like temperature and body aches, but is likely you will have milder symptoms than you would if you don't get the vaccine.

7. Eat healthy
Eat vitamin-rich foods and a varied balanced diet to best equip your immune system for the flu season. Yogurt and probiotic like Actimel are also known to be good for fighting off respiratory diseases and reduce the duration of a cold by a day or two. Ginger and garlic are also good immune boosters.

What to do if you fall sick:

1.  Take Paracetemol or Ibuprofen 
These are available over the counter from Boots, Superdrug, most supermarkets like Tesco, Sainsbury, Waitrose, Marks & Spencer, and local pharmacies and chemists around London and in the UK.

2. Use Vicks 
You can use Vicks First Defence nasal sprays and Vicks vapour rubs to ease your symptoms and get some relief.

3. Drink plenty of warm fluids 

Drink plenty of water, warm tea and juices, to help stay hydrated and loosen congestion. Holland and Barrett have an excellent selection of herbal teas including one with peppermint which is very soothing.

4. Get enough sleep
Sleep helps energise the body and make your immune system work better so take it easy when you feel unwell.

5. Call NHS 111 service 
If you need to speak to someone about your symptoms you can call 111 free of charge from any phone for health advice

6. Make an appointment with the local GP
Some NHS medican centres will give you an appointment whether you are a British citizen or not. There may be a charge for seeing a GP. Some hospitals also have Walk-in centres near their A&E units where you can access a GP who can help with prescriptions and other minor injustres.
More information here


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