Winter season brings along a host of pesky ailments like colds, sore throats, and coughs. While these may seem like minor inconveniences, they can leave you feeling absolutely miserable. So, what do doctors really think about managing these winter ailments? We dug deep to get you some valuable insights.
Getting ill is not always terrible
According to GP and TV medic Dr. Hilary Jones, it is not always possible to prevent exposure to viruses, especially during the winter when people tend to gather indoors for warmth. If your symptoms are mild, you may not need to worry too much. Dr. Jones suggests that you let your immune system deal with it. In fact, stimulating your immune system by allowing it to fight off minor illnesses can actually make it stronger and healthier.
Avoid unnecessary antibiotics
When symptoms become harder to tolerate, it can be tempting to resort to antibiotics. However, it is important to note that antibiotics only work against bacterial infections, not viral infections like the common cold. Dr. Tom Jenkins, a GP and developer of Centoreze Pelargonium, warns against the harmful effects of unnecessary antibiotic use. Taking antibiotics when they aren’t needed disrupts the body’s bacterial balance and can have long-lasting consequences.
Embrace soothing home remedies
Seeking symptomatic relief is key when you’re feeling sick. Dr. Jones recommends using genuine manuka honey from New Zealand, which carries antibacterial properties and is soothing for the throat. Adding honey to warm water with lemon and cinnamon can also provide relief. Another doctor-approved remedy is Pelargonium, a traditional herbal remedy recommended by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) for managing upper respiratory tract symptoms.
Diet and lifestyle are important
Maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle can protect your immune system and prevent illnesses. Dr. Jones emphasizes the importance of avoiding smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, and poor nutrition. He also suggests that adequate intake of vitamin D, vitamin C, zinc, garlic, and echinacea can support a healthy immune system. If your diet is restricted or if you have specific needs, considering a multivitamin may be beneficial.
When to seek medical advice
If you find yourself constantly run down despite trying various remedies, it may be time to consult with your doctor. Persistent or recurrent infections could be a sign of an underlying medical condition. It’s always advisable to discuss your concerns with your GP to ensure appropriate medical attention.
1. Can colds be prevented?
Preventing exposure to viruses, especially during the winter, can be challenging. However, practicing good hygiene, like washing hands regularly, can help reduce the risk of catching a cold.
2. Are antibiotics effective against the common cold?
No, antibiotics only work against bacterial infections, not viral infections like the common cold. Taking antibiotics for a cold can be harmful and contribute to antibiotic resistance.
3. Are there natural remedies for managing cold symptoms?
Yes, natural remedies like manuka honey and Pelargonium have been recommended for managing cold symptoms. However, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional before trying any new remedies.
4. How can diet and lifestyle support immune health?
A balanced diet, regular exercise, and avoiding harmful substances like smoking and excessive alcohol can help strengthen the immune system. Additionally, taking supplements like vitamin D, vitamin C, and zinc may be beneficial, especially during the winter months.
5. When should I consult a doctor for recurring infections?
If you are experiencing recurrent infections and are concerned about an underlying medical condition, it is best to consult with a doctor for proper evaluation and guidance.