Cold and flu myth bust­ing

ASK ANY PAR­ENT AND THEY’LL TELL YOU THEIR OWN THE­O­RIES ON HOW TO PRE­VENT AND TREAT COLDS IN THEIR KIDS. DO YOU HAVE YOUR OWN IDEAS? HAVEN SAT DOWN WITH GP, SPEAKER AND AU­THOR DR CRIS BEER TO MYTH BUST SOME OF THE MOST COM­MON OLD WIVES’ TALES.

Haven Magazine - - Wellbeing - Words: Anny White

We’ve heard them all be­fore – bread­crusts make your hair curly, an ap­ple a day keeps the doc­tor away. But when it comes to win­ter ill­ness, is there any truth to the old wives’ tales? Ac­cord­ing to The Med­i­cal Sanc­tu­ary's Dr Cris Beer, it’s what’s on the in­side that counts most. Keep­ing your­self nour­ished and hy­drated is the best way to get over a sick­ness or avoid it all to­gether. Drink­ing plenty of wa­ter is im­por­tant, as your body loses a lot of fluid when fight­ing in­fec­tion. Dr Cris sug­gests we eat a range of fruits and veg­eta­bles to make sure we’re get­ting all the es­sen­tial vi­ta­mins and min­er­als, and stay away from sug­ary foods and drinks as these can im­pair the im­mune sys­tem. When it comes to nat­u­ral cold and flu reme­dies, Dr Cris says some are bet­ter than oth­ers. Echi­nacea, zinc and pro­bi­otics are all good for boost­ing the im­mune sys­tem but there isn’t much ev­i­dence to sug­gest that olive leaf ex­tract will cure your cold. There has been some re­search into the ben­e­fits of mush­room ex­tract, par­tic­u­larly shi­take mush­rooms, but ac­cord­ing to Dr Cris, the jury’s still out on that one. So, what are Dr Cris’s words of wis­dom to par­ents? Clean hands, rest and nu­tri­tion go a long way, but get­ting sick is in­evitable. And don’t stress if your child catches a cold – Dr Cris says that to boost their young im­mune sys­tems, very young chil­dren are likely to get 10 colds a year! So, let’s look specif­i­cally at some of the myths and old wives’ tales sur­round­ing colds and the flu to help put you on a path to good health this win­ter... Cover your mouth with your hand when cough­ing: This is the mum mantra. It makes sense to pre­vent our germs from spread­ing when we cough or sneeze, but is the best so­lu­tion to cover our mouth with our hand? Some sug­gest us­ing the crook of your el­bow in­stead of your hands. Dr Cris says that wash­ing your hands after cough­ing or sneez­ing is the most im­por­tant bit.

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