AUTUMN HEALTH NOTES
The days are getting shorter, temperatures are dropping and Autumn is in the air. The season for flu and colds will soon be here. Both the flu and colds are viruses and can present similar symptoms. One of the major differences is that flu has a sudden onset accompanied by chills, muscle aches, fever, and fatigue. It affects the whole body, not just the chest and upper respiratory system and most importantly, can be life-threatening.
The best way to avoid all of the above is to get a flu jab. They are easily available from your GP and high street pharmacies and the vaccine is FREE to anyone over the age of 65. This year, Public Health England have announced a new, more effective vaccine available to over 65s.
Professor Paul Cosford, Medical Director at PHE, said:
‘Flu is potentially a very serious illness, and we know adults over 65 are more likely to catch and have complications from flu so have the most to gain from an improved vaccine. By introducing an enhanced flu vaccine for this age group they will be better protected as well as helping to reduce the spread of flu to those around them.’
‘The newly available ‘adjuvanted’ vaccine is expected to significantly boost effectiveness by improving the body’s immune response to the vaccine. This is important because typically, older adults’ bodies do not respond as well to the flu vaccine due to their naturally weaker immune systems. Older adults are also more likely to suffer complications from flu.’
This new and enhanced vaccine is available from early October and you are also encouraged to practice good hand hygiene by catching sneezes and coughs in a tissue, discard it and then wash your hands…the catchy slogan ‘catch it, kill it, bin it’ will form part of their marketing campaign.
More information is available @ https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-flu-vaccine-available-this-winter-for-those-aged-65-and-over
Hopefully you will manage to avoid the flu but if you do catch a cold, which can be uncomfortable and debilitating, the following tips might help to alleviate some of the symptoms.
1. Drink more fluids, especially tea as it contains theophylline, which naturally helps dilate the bronchioles in your lungs,
allowing you to breathe more easily.
2. Add honey to your tea and avoid milk as it is mucous forming and will add to your symptoms.
3. As well as helping to increase your fluid intake, soup is very comforting and keeps you warm. The old wives tale of eating
chicken soup when you have a cold is in fact based on truth. Chicken is especially rich in a compound called carnosine, and
studies suggest this reduces that stuffy, congested feeling in your nose and throat. When we have a cold we often don’t feel
like eating much but our bodies need energy to fight the infection so again, the saying ‘feed a cold’ has some basis in truth.
4. Take some medication if you have a headache so that your body is fighting the infection and not the headache.
5. Steam and relieve congestion with either a steam inhaler or a towel and a bowl filled with eucalyptus oil or a couple of
teaspoons of Vick. Be careful not to hurt yourself and get too close to the hot water.
6. Rest properly so that your body can fight the infection. It will normally takes between three and ten days for your body to get
rid of the virus. Give your body time to recover and don’t rush into anything too soon as this might send you back to square one.
This winter please avoid the flu and get the jab. If you do get a cold I hope some of these tips will help you. Remember, chicken soup is not just for your ‘soul’ it really can also help your body.