This week I’ve been preparing to return from my career break in a few weeks time as a Physiotherapist in a Dublin hospital. Hospitals are typically the place you go when you are extremely ill, seriously injured or require some kind of operation, consultation or treatment. For me and my healthcare colleagues that means we are often treating the most ill patients within the hospital and exposed to lots of germs.
There are many steps and precautions that healthcare workers and patients alike take every day to reduce the risk of exposure, transference and contamination including regular and thorough hand washing, wearing of the uniform only in work, personal protection clothing and receiving the flu vaccine.
The flu vaccine was top of my list this week. The HSE recommend that all people within the high risk group receive this annually.
These steps aren’t just for people who are or who interact with ill people. The steps that follow are useful for everyone. A really good resource that I have based this feature on is undertheweather.ie – developed by doctors and pharmacists, where you can learn how to manage common ailments with confidence and common sense.
Cough and Sneeze Code
Something that everyone can do to prevent the spread of infection is following good coughing and sneezing protocols, regular hand washing and not placing yourself in close proximity to others when you have a cold or flu.
A really important step with any illness or injury is early detection and management. This can result in an illness or injury being managed appropriately, reducing the length of illness and ultimately ensuring you return to full health as quickly as possible.
Rest and Hydration
Rest and hydration are the front line treatment for most illnesses. As our bodies are made up of over 60% water, ensuring optimal hydration levels is vitally important. Rest and sleep is where our bodies develop, grow and recover.
After a wild weekend or a really busy week in work, adding an extra hour onto your sleep nightly can make all the difference. Likewise, if you exercise numerous times a week, taking a few nights off to allow your body recover will result in improved performance and reduction in your illness. As a sportsperson time away from sport is something that I really struggle with but it really is the only way to nip colds and flus in the bud.
What you eat and drink can definitely help keep colds and flus at bay too. Warm drinks will instantly make you feel much better. Likewise soups, curries, stews and hotpots will nourish and heat you from the inside out. It is long established that spices like chili, cardamom, ginger and turmeric are useful in soothing the common cold and flu.
As my aunt has her own bees, we always have a stock of honey at hand and I’m a big fan. Honey is pure magic for a sore throat in my eyes.
Citrus fruits and vitamin C have long been used to help with illness. Generally speaking any fruit or vegetables that are really colourful are packed with Vitamin C.
One of my favourite ways is to juice lemons, limes, oranges and grapefruit together and mix with some grated ginger, ground turmeric and a dash of honey. Store this mix in your fridge and dilute a few tablespoons with some hot water for a wonderfully citrus spice-infused drink.
My Top Cold & Flu Defence Tips Are:
- Regular hand-washing and good cough and sneeze code
- Early detection & management
- Nourishing food