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A-Z Advice Directory
Colds and flu affect 15 million people each year in the UK*. It is not always necessary to see a GP when you’re suffering with a cold, resting at home could be much more helpful.
The common cold is a mild viral infection affecting the nose, throat and sinuses. There are more than 200 different viruses which can cause the common cold; this explains why people often become infected more than once within a season. Adults usually have two to four colds a year, more frequently during winter months.
Symptoms of a cold include:
In adults a cold will usually last for around a week. The common cold can get better by itself without the need for treatment however using over-the-counter medication can help relieve the symptoms. Remember to always read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure that the product is used in the right way and the correct dosage is given.
The common cold is contagious for two or three days before symptoms begin and remains contagious until all symptoms are gone. A cold virus can be spread through direct and indirect contact. If you sneeze or cough, droplets of fluid containing the virus are launched into the air and can be breathed in by others but also if you sneeze and then touch a door handle, for example, and someone else touches the door handle and then touches their mouth or nose they may catch the cold*.
Flu is a highly infectious and very common viral illness that is spread by coughs and sneezes. There are several ways that the virus can be spread such as water droplets, transfer from hard surfaces to individuals or through person to person contact.
It’s not the same as the common cold. Flu is caused by a different group of viruses and symptoms tend to be more severe and last for longer. You can catch flu all year round, but it is especially common in winter, which is why it is also known as ‘seasonal flu’.
Symptoms of flu include:*
Flu can result in some, or all, of these symptoms. It can have a huge impact on your day to day activities, affecting work, friends and family. The best way to protect you and your family against seasonal flu is to be vaccinated.
If you fall within one of the NHS “At Risk” groups you may be eligible for a free vaccine.
These groups include:
The lead up to Christmas seems to be getting longer; it’s gone from a few days to a few weeks to practically the whole month of December. We all know Christmas generally means indulgence. We’ve put together some top tips to help you swerve those festive pitfalls this year.
Rushing around trying to get everything sorted can trigger tension/stress headaches; try to drink plenty of water throughout the day as dehydration can make the symptoms worse. Why not schedule in some ‘me’ time, a simple bubble bath or cuddling up on the couch with a good book can really help you to de-stress.
Discuss your plans with everyone involved, including children who will be there, and listen to their ideas and wishes so you can make a plan of how the festive season will go. Share out the jobs that need to be done, don’t slave away for hours on your own as you may end up feeling that people have taken advantage of you.
It’s easy to get into the routine of late nights especially with all the festive parties, but you need to remember how important sleep is. Try to go to bed and get up at roughly the same time so you don’t throw your sleep pattern out of sync, you’ll feel much better (and less stressed) if you get a good night’s sleep.
It’s important to keep up your exercise regime over the festive period. It may seem like a lot of hard work but exercising will help combat some of the extra indulgence we engage in, you’ll feel much better having that extra mince pie if you’ve been on your regular morning run. Why not plan a nice family walk after dinner time, it will give you some fresh air but also help your over-excited children feel pleasantly tired rather than irritable.
With the indulgence of Christmas you need to remember those all-important items that can help you. Stock up on indigestion relief tablets, heartburn relief treatment, wind/bloating relief tablets and painkillers plus medications for diarrhoea, constipation and upset stomachs… just in-case.
Although it may sometimes be tempting to overindulge especially for the festive period, keep in mind that moderation is the key and that you can still allow yourself to indulge but at the same time make the effort to stay healthy.
Cold weather and dry heat can cause havoc to our hair in the winter months. Winter really can make a bad hair day last the whole season, from static electricity, dry frizz and hat hair, how can you keep your locks glowing?
Here are our top 5 tips to saving your hair this winter!
One of the best and most overlooked ways to keep your hair looking and feeling healthy is to eat a balanced diet full of nutrients and vitamins. It’s also important to drink enough water to keep your skin and hair hydrated from within.
And remember regular trims at the hairdressers will keep your hair healthy reducing the chances of dry, split ends during winter.