Fed up with catching colds? Here’s what your doctor really wants you to know - GulfToday

Fed up with catching colds? Here’s what your doctor really wants you to know

Health flu 1

Photo used for illustrative purposes.

Already feel like you’ve had your fill of sore throats, coughs and stuffy heads this winter? Colds may be common and minor – but they can still leave you feeling rotten, not to mention being a major inconvenience.

They aren’t really something you want to be traipsing to the GP surgery with either – but wouldn’t it be helpful to know what your doctor really thinks about managing winter ailments? We asked them…

Getting ill is not always terrible

Nobody enjoys having a cold, of course. But GP and TV medic Dr Hilary Jones – known for regular appearances on “Good Morning Britain” – says we can’t always “prevent exposure to viruses, especially in winter when people flock together for warmth indoors”. And if symptoms are mild, we probably don’t need to worry too much.

“Let your own immune system deal with it,” says Jones. “That’s what your immune system is for – and looking on the positive side, the more you tickle up your immune system, the healthier it is. In a way, you’re stimulating your immune system to be healthy.”


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Antibiotics can be harmful if you don’t actually need them

If symptoms are proving tougher to tolerate, it can be tempting to try antibiotics. But while there are certainly times when antibiotics are vital, they only work for bacterial infections, so taking them when you have a viral infection (such as a cold) is not only futile, but could cause harm.

“Often, both clinicians and patients will be tempted to try antibiotics, even when there is little-to-no chance of them helping – ‘just in case’ and often accompanied with the reasoning of ‘what harm can it do?’,” says Dr Tom Jenkins, GP and developer of Centoreze Pelargonium.

The herbal remedy that’s doctor-approved

There are so many natural remedies out there promising to fight off symptoms, and deciding between them can be overwhelming. But did you know there’s one herbal remedy that is recommended by the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) for managing certain upper respiratory tract symptoms?

Pelargonium, licenced as a Traditional Herbal Remedy, is recommended by GPs to consider as one of four self-care treatment options for adults and children aged 12 and above. It’s mentioned on the NHS website’s page for coughs, too – along with getting plenty of rest, staying hydrated, Paracetamol and Ibuprofen where suitable for pain relief, and honey and lemon.

Diet and lifestyle do play a part

“Diet is always important,” says Jones. “A healthy lifestyle does protect us and helps our immune system. Clearly there are obvious things not to do – smoking and excess alcohol – as well as poor nutrition.

“We know vitamin D is important for good immune health, and there are many people who are deficient in vitamin D, who should be taking a supplement as recommended by the WHO and NHS, particularly through winter,” Jones adds (when there isn’t enough sunlight in this part of the world for our bodies to make sufficient amounts). “So vitamin D, adequate vitamin C, zinc, and sometimes things like garlic and echinacea can be helpful in making sure your immune system is healthy.”

While a balanced diet comes first, Jones believes “it’s always worth considering a multivitamin, which gives you a little bit of everything, particularly if your diet is restricted or selective in any way or if you’ve got extra needs”, he adds.

The Independent

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