Carol Vorderman reveals she is ill with the flu

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With all the fun and socialising that comes with the winter months and Christmas celebrations, it’s also the time when colds, flus and other respiratory illnesses such as COVID-19 thrive. The body is not as effective at fighting a virus when cold air enters the nose and upper airways. Therefore, viruses such as the common cold, can spread far more easily during the winter.

With this in mind Care pharmacist, Karen Baker, spoke with about how best to protect yourself from winter illnesses.

She said: “Colds are so common because there are more than 200 viruses that can cause a cold, and the human body simply cannot build up resistance to them all.

“Some people are more susceptible to colds as their immune system is not as efficient, this could be due to a medical condition, or just their genetic make-up.”

Ms Baker shared her five ways to fight these kinds of illnesses.

Good hygiene

“The best way to prevent catching a winter virus, whether a cold, flu, or COVID-19, is to practise good hygiene,” she said.

“Wash your hands frequently with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitiser, clean frequently touched surfaces, and avoid close contact with people who are sick.”

Boosting your immune system

Ms Baker said: “Boosting your immunity this winter is also key for keeping colds at bay.

“To do this, make sure you get plenty of sleep and are eating well balanced meals.

“It is also important to stay active, getting fresh air, and also taking the time to de-stress and relax.

“I would also recommend making sure you get enough sunlight; this can be a challenge during winters in the UK, and so, vitamin D supplements can also be a great option.

“You should always speak to your local pharmacist for advice and guidance on product recommendations.”

Staying hydrated

“During the winter months, it’s so important that you hydrate; this helps support your body in fighting infections and maintaining our bodies temperature balance,” she advised.


Ms Baker said: “Pharmacies provide many over the counter products that can help with all-round cough, cold and flu relief.

“For a fever, pharmacists may simply recommend paracetamol, ibuprofen or aspirin to reduce temperatures and alleviate aches and pains, which can all be symptoms of the common cold.

“As a ‘first line’ therapy for sore throats, paracetamol is shown to provide rapid and effective relief.

“Lozenges, pastilles or even sucking boiled sweets produces saliva which helps to lubricate and soothe the throat. If a person is struggling to swallow, sore throat lozenges and throat sprays are a great option.

“Nasal sprays can be used at the first sign of a cold to help stop the cold developing or reduce the length of the infection.”

Self care

“You can also relieve the symptoms of winter illnesses at home by making sure you get plenty of rest,” she added.

“Steamy showers can also help moisturise your nasal and throat passages.

“Making sure you get enough vitamin C through eating a variety of fruits and vegetables can help boost your immunity, gargling salt water can help ease sore throats and drinking hot liquids such as hot honey and lemon can soothe your nose and throat.”

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