Dr Chris Smith: People not 'topping up' immunity to flu
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If you’re already feeling the onslaught of a cold coming on, leading pharmacist Giulia Guerrini is here to help. Talking to Express.co.uk, augmentin mx she shares her top tips for dealing with a nasty infection. “Take a steamy shower, or hot bath,” Guerrini advises. “This is an easy, quick way to go about tackling a bad cold and is actually very effective.” The steam from the shower (or bath) helps to ease achy muscles, moistens the sinus passages, and it reduces nasal congestion.
Essential oil and bath salts
For those favouring a bath, adding drops of peppermint oil or aromatic bath salts can also help to ease headaches and open your airways.
What about echinacea supplements?
In the early stages of a cold, where the throat may begin to feel a bit scratchy, some people may benefit from taking echinacea supplements.
Studies – “although highly variable and not always the most accurate” – have shown that taking echinacea could reduce the risk of developing cold symptoms.
Furthermore, evidence suggests that people who took echinacea supplements, on average, had 1.4 fewer sick days.
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“More consistent data is needed,” cautioned Guerrini. “Also, echinacea works best when taken at first signs of a cold, rather than when the symptoms are already quite advanced.”
Sore throat remedy
A sore throat can be “uncomfortable at best and downright painful at worse”, said Guerrini.
“Gargling warm, salty water (about half a teaspoonful) a few times a day will help loosen mucus in the throat,” she explained.
Meanwhile, “gargling soluble paracetamol can help relieve the pain associated with a sore throat”.
“The age-old combination of paracetamol with decongestants and cough suppressants will work to relieve symptoms and/or discomfort,” said Guerrini.
“You might also want to try a nasal spray that will help clear your blocked nose, such as oxymetazoline hydrochloride or similar.”
- Keep it hot
- Any hot liquid is said to help the body clear out mucus and, consequently, the virus.
- Chicken soup
- Ginger, lemon and hot water.
Water is also crucial to a person’s recovery from a viral infection, such as a cold, to help loosen mucus and to replace any fluids lost via a fever.
“Ensuring that you eat lots of prebiotics – fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds, for example – will help strengthen your immune system to fight back against colds,” added Guerrini.
And taking vitamin C – whether it be from citrus fruits or supplements – can also help to shorten the length of time you have a cold, Guerrini verified.
Preventing a sinus infection
Some people may find that their cold symptoms linger for up to 10 days or more, which can be a key indicator that it’s turned into a sinus infection.
A sinus infection can take up to three weeks to completely go away, the NHS pointed out.
Symptoms of a sinus infection can include:
- Pain, swelling and tenderness around your cheeks, eyes or forehead
- A blocked nose
- A reduced sense of smell
- Green or yellow mucus from your nose
- A sinus headache
- A high temperature
- Bad breath.
“To prevent a sinus infection, make sure your nasal passages are moistened and not dry,” said Guerrini.
“Keep hydrated and drink plenty of water throughout the day, so the mucus stays loose and thin.”
Giulia Guerrini is the lead pharmacist at digital pharmacy Medino.
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