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.
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.