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Cold and flu prevention advice

Whilst it is always important to take good care of yourself by leading a healthy lifestyle, eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly and drinking plenty of warm drinks in the colder months, these are all particularly important in the winter-time when it’s cold and flu season.

Read on for further tips on prevention and some common myths regarding contracting these viruses.

Washing your hands

Cold and flu viruses can be passed on through tiny droplets of mucus that are sneezed or coughed into the air by an infected person, and breathed in by another person. If an infected person sneezes into their hand, and then touches an object (such as a door handle, lift button, stair rail) the virus is able to pass from the object to the next person who touches it. By using good hand washing techniques, it is possible to rid yourself of any viruses you’ve inadvertently picked up.

Avoid touching your nose and eyes

Cold and flu viruses are able to enter your body through the eyes and nose. If you have any infected droplets of the virus on your hands, and you then touch your eyes or nose, the virus will pass into your body.


The flu vaccine can prevent you from catching flu. Contact the Practice Nurse at your GP surgery to discuss whether this would be appropriate for you.

Myths regarding avoiding colds and flu

Getting cold or wet

As cold and flu are viruses, being cold and wet can’t develop a cold, although if you are already carrying the virus in your nose, it might allow symptoms to develop.

Vitamin C and Echinacea

It is a common misconception that vitamin C can help to cure colds and flu and that Echinacea can prevent the onset of them, but unfortunately this has not been scientifically proven.

Vitamin C taken on a daily basis may perhaps be effective in reducing the length and severity of a cold, but not the onset.

Echinacea is used in many herbal remedies that claim to protect against the cold virus by aiding the immune system. There have been several studies into Echinacea’s effectiveness, but no definitive results.


If you would like any further information regarding the cold and flu virus please contact the Occupational Health Service on ext 3187 or


1 comment on this postSubmit yours
  1. I am amazed this article states it is a common misconception that Echinacea can prevent the onset of a cold. I always take Echinacea if I get a little niggle of a sore throat coming on and it works a treat! ….Dare I say it, but I haven’t had a cold this winter. I’m convinced Echinacea works and would highly recommend it!

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