You might recall earlier this year our post featuring our top tips for dealing with the summer weather with thanks to Lloyds Pharmacy. We are back again with some top tips from Lloyds on how to help with the inevitable cold and flu that comes with the advent of Autumn/ Winter. This time we have some expert insights from Denis O’Driscoll, Superintendent Pharmacist at LloydsPharmacy. Denis very kindly gave me some of his time to run through my own questions.
Question: I dread this time of year for the kids as its the inevitable they will pick up colds, flu’s etc. What practical tips would you advise to try to keep sickness at bay?
Answer: In the main, colds and flu are viral and self-limiting. Here are my practical tips for children and adults:
- Maintain healthy eating and diet
- Eat loads of vegetables and fruit
- Drink plenty of fluids
- Exercise regularly
- Get plenty of sleep
- Use a disposable tissue and dispose correctly after use
- Wash hands after sneezing /coughing, use a hand sanitizer if necessary
- I would also recommend visiting your local pharmacist to discuss getting the flu vaccination. The flu vaccination not only helps to protect against catching the flu, but also ensures the infection isn’t passed on.
Question: Are there any multi vitamins or supplement you would recommend?
Answer: In winter there is a need for more Vit D3 as people tend to feel tired. I would recommend a multivitamin that contains Vit D3- your sunshine vitamin and Vit B which gives energy. There are many products, but the one I am currently using myself is Revive™Active for Adults. This product is also available for children aged 5-12 and teens. Your local pharmacist is best placed to give you this advice, dependent on your child’s diet and daily activities. In my opinion as a pharmacist and a parent, I always ensure that my children are eating healthily and they’re getting enough fruit and vegetable. If this proves difficult, I use any product with B-complex and VitD3 such as Revive for Children. This should always be taken with an antibiotic if prescribed, and I would also provide them with a probiotic.
Question: For the times we do get hit by the dreaded winter colds and flu’s what advice would you have for helping us feel better until it passes?
- Keep hydrated with warm drinks
- Keep warm, and get plenty of rest
- To manage the symptoms:
- Sore throat lozenge and pain relief
- Gargling salt and warm water is something to consider
- If nose is blocked, use a recommended product or a saline nasal spray
- Use disposable tissues. There are a number of products to help with stuffy nose and runny nose
- Sometimes using tissues caused the nose to be a little painful so we would recommend using a little petroleum jelly or some Sudocrem™
Question: When is a cold a flu?! Are they basically the same thing?
Answer: Both are viral and self-limiting but the flu is much more debilitating
Question: Is there truth in the old tale of – feed a flu?
Answer: If you feel like eating- eat, but keep hydrated at all times. So take plenty of fluids in all its forms soups, broths, even flat soft white carbonated drinks. In children and babies, you need to keep an eye out for dehydration, this is obvious with babies having dry nappies or a depressed fontanelle. In older children, usually you do the skin test on the back of the hand, so a pinch and if it remains raised then it’s a sign of dehydration.
Question: At what stage should you visit your health care practitioner?
Answer: Usually colds and flus are self-limiting, keep an eye on temperature, on vomiting and diarrhoea, If you need help talk to your doctor or pharmacist, however the usual advice is to stay at home to prevent the spread of infection.
You should see you GP if;
- your symptoms don’t improve after a week or so
- your symptoms get suddenly worse
- your temperature is very high or you feel hot and shivery
- you’re concerned about your child’s symptoms
- you’re finding it hard to breathe or develop chest pain
- you have a long-term medical condition – for example, diabetes, or a heart, lung, kidney or neurological disease
- you have a weakened immune system – for example, because you’re having chemotherapy
Question: My husband wants to know is Man flu a recognised compliant 🙂
Answer: Men are more adversely affected by the idea of a flu but this is complete MYTH. However in order to make your life easier ensure you have tissues, lozenges and other recommended treatments by your pharmacist or doctor ready to hand to combat this!
Thanks so much to Denis for the tips and guidance. Please note I am not a medical practitioner merely passing on useful information. If in doubt always seek medical advice.