Bless you!

How does a doc­tor stay well when his con­sult­ing room is filled with ill peo­ple? GP Dr Matt Pic­caver’s an­swer is in his hands

EDP Norfolk - - Inside - Dr Matt Pic­caver

Stay clear of colds with Dr Matt Pic­caver’s ad­vice

MY STAFF think I’m prob­a­bly a bit over the top. My wife def­i­nitely does. I’ve taken to wear­ing gloves when I see pa­tients, par­tic­u­larly in the win­ter months. This might seem a lit­tle un­usual. I don’t think I’m descend­ing into the full Howard Hughes’ fear of con­ta­gion. I’m not quite at the level of hid­ing away from all peo­ple. We are, af­ter all, a scaf­fold for bac­te­ria, viruses and fun­gus. I was once told that there are more mi­cro-or­gan­isims that make up our bod­ies than hu­man cells.

Whether this is true or not, I’m not en­tirely cer­tain. I’m a lit­tle fed up with catch­ing colds. So, I’ve elected only to touch peo­ple when wear­ing gloves. This is prob­a­bly not some­thing I should ad­mit to re­ally.

Win­ter is the sea­son of coughs and colds. Of sore throats and runny noses, ear aches and si­nusi­tis. Get­ting through a ver­i­ta­ble for­est of tis­sues, men­thol this and honey and lemon that. Boxes of cold and flu reme­dies and du­vet days.

The good thing is that most coughs and colds set­tle in no time. Ear aches usu­ally set­tle in about four days. Sore throats by a week. Com­mon colds? Prob­a­bly 10 days or so. Si­nusi­tis can take nearly three weeks, as can coughs and bron­chi­tis. A sup­ply of pain re­lief, a box or three of tis­sues and a bit of rest are prob­a­bly enough.

When do we know when to get in touch with a doc­tor if we be­come un­well?

High fevers, shakes and shiv­ers, cough­ing blood or get­ting sicker and sicker are prob­a­bly some use­ful signs of get­ting worse. A cough last­ing longer than three weeks should ide­ally get checked out, par­tic­u­larly if you have a his­tory of smok­ing in your past (or still do).

There are a few things you can do to stop your­self be­com­ing un­well. Reg­u­lar hand wash­ing has been shown in some set­tings to re­duce trans­mis­sion of cer­tain in­fec­tions. Stay­ing away from peo­ple who are cough­ing or splut­ter­ing is an­other good idea. Crowds, and I find con­fer­ences, are a great way of get­ting un­well. As is air travel. Or just be­ing near peo­ple. I’m prob­a­bly show­ered in a mist of other peo­ple’s virus­soaked spu­tum on a daily ba­sis. Some­times ev­ery 10 min­utes when win­ter re­ally takes hold.

The moral of this tale of bod­ily flu­ids? Colds usu­ally go away. Tough it out and re­mem­ber good hygeine. If you’re get­ting sicker (and not just in a “man­flu” way) see your doc­tor. Just try not to cough on me.

“I was once told that there are more mi­cro-or­gan­isims that make up our bod­ies than hu­man cells”

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