These are the best ways to beat the winter
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So you’ve got a cold – there’s nothing you can do about it, right? From the truth about vitamin C to powering your mood, here’s the latest science to help you recover faster
The common cold is, er, pretty common this time of year, and we’re all in the firing line. Most of us will get colds at least twice this year—peculiar ordeals that turn us into zombies sniffing vials of Olbass Oil and saying things like “my hair hurts.”
There are 200 types of common cold virus. “When these viruses enter your nose, they irritate the lining, causing it to produce mucus and try to flush out the bad stuff,” says clinical scientist Professor Peter Openshaw. ,The virus sticks to cells in the nose and then breaks off, traveling to other parts of the airways and upper respiratory tract, including the throat.”
So what can we do to protect ourselves? Well, as the saying goes, prevention is better than cure. “Alcohol-based hand sanitizers are more effective than you might think,” says Dr. Adam Simon, GP and Medical Officer at Pushdoctor.co.uk. “Washing your hands regularly is always a good idea, but keep in mind that antibacterial soaps do not kill viruses and thus will not prevent the spread of colds.” Office martyrdom doesn’t help either.
“The best way to prevent a cold outbreak is for the person who has the virus to stay at home and rest.” But there’s another way to get ahead of the game in combating all these airborne infections — know your facts.
Is a cold the same as the flu?
Both colds and flu are caused by viruses, but it is quite difficult for doctors to determine which one we are suffering from. The term “influenza-like illness” or “ILI”, in medical settings, is also used for a cold, especially when fever is present. While both viruses attack the cells of the adenoids in the back of your throat, the rest spread to cells in the upper respiratory tract (ie, the nose, throat, pharynx, and larynx).
“If you have more severe symptoms, a fever of 39.5 and you’re having pain everywhere, you’ve got influenza,” says Sebastian Johnston, professor of respiratory medicine and allergy at Imperial College London. “But influenza really only occurs during annual influenza pandemics – we usually have one every year” [from October to May]They vary in severity and will last six to eight weeks in more populated parts of the country before spreading. ,
Currently, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends the flu jab for pregnant women, healthcare workers, those over 65 (or under five) and people with chronic health conditions. But it is available to everyone (ask your GP) and it is the only reliable protection.
Does Vitamin C Help Prevent Colds?
Really not that much. Dr Ashton Harper, medical consultant for the pharmaceutical company Protaxin, says, “Research shows that vitamin C is effective in the prevention of colds only when the human body is under significant stress – for example in soldiers or long-distance runners. ” Professor Openshaw agrees. “The vitamin C myth doesn’t really have a good scientific basis,” he says. “There’s no harm in that, but it’s not a cure.”
In fact, too much impact on what your local pharmacist has to offer will be negligible. “There is no good evidence, for example, that cough medicine works,” says Dr. Davina Deniszyk, executive director of medicine at Nuffield Health. “But, interestingly, in clinical studies, placebos (sugar pills) seem to work really well.” Indeed, research from the University of Wisconsin found that when patients received a placebo pill that they believed contained echinacea, their illnesses were significantly shorter and less severe. So any medicine of your choice, if it’s safe and seems to work for you, stick with it.
Can kissing spread the common cold?
Yes, but more than that, you don’t have to kiss or touch a stranger to pick up germs. “Common cold virus particles are spread through tiny droplets of saliva in the air when someone with the infection coughs, sneezes or laughs or talks,” says GP Dr Sarah Brewer.
“The particles move at an estimated speed of about 100 miles per hour and can travel for several meters” [recent research* shows that a single cough would fill about three quarters of a two-litre bottle with air containing 3,000 droplets of potentially infectious saliva], They can then enter the body of a close person through the eyes, nose or mouth. In addition, the germs from their hands persist long after they are gone, living on contaminated surfaces such as door handles, escalators and keyboards, on which the virus is able to survive.
Do you have genetics down the number of colds?
partially. “We all have what we call the innate immune system, which protects us from viruses we’ve never seen before,” says Professor Johnston. “We’ve also acquired immunity, where our bodies ‘learn’ from infections we’ve seen before and build immunity to them. [such as mumps or chickenpox]”The number of colds we get depends on how strong these two immune systems are.” People differ based on their genetic makeup and the number of ways we use to control our immune defenses. Genes are found,” says Professor Openshaw. “So you can be lucky or unlucky in terms of the pattern that you have inherited.”
Does being sad make you more vulnerable to sniffles?
This is actually surprisingly true. “Maintaining a positive mental attitude can help prevent illness,” says Justin Jones, national physiology manager. Nuffield Health, “That’s because we release different hormones depending on our attitude. Thinking positively has been proven to release the immune-boosting hormone DHEA, while negative thinking releases the immune-suppressing hormone cortisol. So staying upbeat can help you stay healthy.
Cold Remedies That Actually Work (According to Experts)
A study from the University of Helsinki found that zinc lozenges can reduce colds by about four days. “Don’t take more than 100 milligrams of elemental zinc per day,” says lead author Dr. Harry Hamilla. Nature’s Way Zinc Lozenges (£2.93 for 60, Iherb.com)
It turns out that yogurt is the best thing to have for breakfast if you want to stave off the common cold, as yogurts are probiotic foods. “Most of our immune system is in our gut,” says Dr. Harper. “Probiotics have been shown to significantly reduce the severity of cold symptoms.” Choose a high-quality multi-strain product like Bio-Kult Advanced Formula Probiotics (£8.99 for 30, Bio-kult.com).
“The last thing you’ll feel like doing when you have a cold is to exercise, but one study showed that going for a 45-minute walk when you don’t normally exercise much can boost your immune system. There is a boost. The effect can last up to three hours,” says Dr. Sohere Roked.
This is still up for debate, but recent research by Professor Johnston at the Royal Society of Medicine has shown that echinacea reduces recurrent respiratory tract infections (about 50 percent). A Vogel Echinaforce Hot Drink (£9.99, Avogel.co.uk)
“Nothing can stop a cold, so it’s a symptom of relief,” says Professor Johnston. A study from the University of Southampton found that paracetamol is superior to ibuprofen when it comes to treating colds. Paracetamol (39p for 16, Superdrug.com).
drink plenty of fluids
“Drink plenty of fluids, because it’s easy to become dehydrated when sick because of fluid loss due to high temperatures and increased nasal secretions,” says Angela Chalmers.
eat less sugar
“Avoid sugar, as it competes with vitamin C, which is good for the immune system,” says Alison Cullen. “If you have too much sugar, you weaken your immune system.”
“Many people in the UK are deficient in vitamin D and there is evidence that increasing it can help with resistance to infection,” says Professor Johnston. Research shows that in order to activate an immune response, vitamin D must trigger T cells in our bodies, which can attack and neutralize any threat. ImmiFlex (£13.39 for 30, Nutritioncentre.co.uk)
*Study by Massachusetts Institute of Technology
drink green tea
“Try drinking green tea,” says Alison Cullen. “It is rich in several chemicals that have been shown to have health-protective properties.”
use a vapor rub
“Apply vapor rub to the soles of your feet and wear socks over the top,” says Angela Chalmers. “Many swear by it to help relieve coughs at night.”
Add Beta Gluten to Your Diet
“Beta glucans in your diet — found in baker’s yeast, oats, rye, barley, wheat and shiitake mushrooms — or in supplement form on a daily basis have been shown to reduce both bacterial infections and viruses. And, if If taken when unhealthy, beta glucans can actually shorten the duration of illness,” says Dr. Sohere Roked. see our list immunity boosting foods to add to your diet.
Add Lysine to Your Diet
“Get plenty of lysine, an essential amino acid that works to boost the immune system and helps stimulate the body’s own antibodies to fight disease,” says Dr. Sohere Roked. “It’s found in plain yogurt and skimmed milk, apricots, dried apples and mangoes, and fish.”
“You can also try sleeping with the window open, as germs and viruses can reproduce more quickly in warmer temperatures,” says Angela Chalmers. “It’s a myth that cold weather causes chills, and circulating fresh air will help create a healthy sleeping environment.”
“Steam breathing may sound old-fashioned, but it’s a powerful way to help clear mucus and soothe irritated airways,” says Angela Chalmers.
sleep with an extra pillow
“When you have a cold, sleep with an extra pillow, as this will help with drainage of the nasal passages,” says boots Pharmacist Angela Chalmers.
use a warm compress
“Try a hot compress,” says Dr. Laura Ginsey. “A warm flannel, placed on your forehead and on the bridge of your nose, can help relieve some of the pressure from blocked sinuses.”
“Try to get enough rest,” says Annabel Bentley. “It can help you get out of the worst-case scenario.”
Cold Home Remedies by Team Marie Claire
Jenny Proudfoot, Features Editor:
“As soon as I feel cold, I grate ginger. Ginger in my food, ginger in my tea, any ginger sweets etc. Not only does it soothe a sore throat, but it can kill rhinoviruses (the cause of most colds) and warm you up quickly.
Penny Goldstone, fashion editor:
“I do fresh garlic and ginger in hot water, with a little lemon – I have it once a day when I’m feeling unwell. Garlic is great for colds, in fact in all my recipes when I’m sick I add garlic.”
Katie Thomas, Senior Beauty Editor:
“It’s vitamin C for me — I overdose on easy peels when I get a cold.”
Associate Chief, Health Editor:
“Echinacea, throat spray and manuka honey, lemon, and ginger with hot water are my go-tos. As soon as I feel a cold coming on, I make sure to nibble all three to really nip it in the bud .
Ana Ospina, Art Director:
“I have a few solutions. First, gargling with salt water – it helps with sore throat and kills bacteria. Just mix half a teaspoon of salt in 8 ounces of warm water and gargle. Second, to open up the sinuses. And third, homemade chicken soup. I really swear by it. It really helps relieve symptoms and I think it’s really scientifically proven.”
Lucy Eberstein, contributing beauty writer:
“As soon as I start to get a cold, I take Day or Night Nurse (depending on the time of day). It knocks my illness on the head right away and when everyone else was getting sick a few weeks ago, I used to take it. I give credit for his speedy recovery.”
get well soon!