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Guest Post from Cancer Research Uk: Tips for Surviving the Flu Season

Autumn is officially upon us now – we’ve dug our winter coats out, turned up the heating and said goodbye to our sunnies for a while. And with the new season, it is inevitable that soon enough we shall all be under threat from colds and flu. But how can we prepare for this and start battling off the symptoms of runny noses, sneezing and sore throats? Take a look at our top tips for surviving the flu season and then sit smugly as you watch everyone else succumb to illness.

Image CC via Flickr

1. Stay Indoors

Okay, so obviously we don’t mean that you have lock yourself away from the outside world, but why not consider switching your mad Friday night drinking session for a cosy night in front of the TV? We all know that alcohol isn’t great for us, but cutting down around this time of year can significantly improve our chances of avoiding the flu as it weakens your immune system, giving nasty viruses the opportunity to take advantage. Plus, clubs and bars are an absolute haven for viruses. Anyway, with weather like this, a nice hot chocolate and a bad film sounds somewhat more appealing that a chilled glass of Pinot!

2. Stay Hygienic

Again, let’s not get over the top with this one. There is no need to freak out everytime somebody with a slightly red looking nose comes near you, but at the same time, it doesn’t hurt to take a few extra precautions around this time of year. Try keeping a small travel sized bottle of antibacterial gel in your bag, and make sure you’re using it at times when you come potentially pick up a bug, for example after you’ve been on a train with lots of people, or if you have been eating in a communal area. Just try to find the right balance between squalor and germophobia!

3. Know Your Vitamins

Understanding the correct vitamins to take can significantly boost your immune system and improve your chances of resisting illness as long as you remember to keep taking them. To avoid colds and flu, try vitamin C or the lesser known Echinacea, which helps strengthen your immune system. You can get it in both drops and tablets, depending on your preference, from all good health stores.

CC via Flickr

4. Sleep, sleep, sleep

This may sound like simple advice, but it is amazing how many people fail to get enough sleep on a regular basis. Of course a lack of sleep can make you feel run down as it is, but recent studies have also shown a link between sleep and the production of disease-fighting white blood cells. So, next time you feel bad about having too much of a lie in, just remember that it’s for the sake of your health!

5. Avoid the Gym

Okay, so most of us don’t need an excuse to skip a visit to the gym, but the fact is that, if you’re not feeling great, it’s a place to avoid. To start with, it’s a pretty close environment and there’s a real risk of either picking up a bug from someone else. If you’re already feeling rough, there might be a temptation to exercise through it, in the hope that it’ll speed up the healing process. Truth is, you’ll just risk infecting other people and making yourself feel worse. Listen to what your body is telling you: if you’re ill, rest is the fastest way to recovery.

6. Wrap up Warm

There’s a persistent myth that colds and flu can actually be caused by being too cold. In reality, both are caused by a virus that you can only pick up from someone who already has it, or from coming into contact with something they’ve been using. If you’re already ill, though, nothing will make you feel worse like being cold, and you’ll soon see your symptoms exacerbated.

This was a post from the health bloggers at Cancer Research UK, providing information and support to those suffering with breast cancer and those who know someone who is.