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Digital Subscriptions > Healthy Food Guide > Dec-17 > Your best defence policy

Your best defence policy

With the predicted increase in cold and flu bugs this winter, we asked the experts for evidence-based advice on reducing the impact



YOU WAKE UP WITH A TICKLE in your throat and it hurts to swallow. You feel lethargic, you sense the beginnings of a headache and you’re sweating despite the cold. Uh-oh…

This winter, experts are warning that more of us than ever are likely to succumb to cold or flu-type symptoms. Britain often follows Australia’s pattern when it comes to winter bugs, explains Paul Cosford, medical director at Public Health England (PHE). ‘The strains of flu found in Australia during their winter led to a significant increase in cases’, he says. ‘And if they experience a very bad flu season, we often follow suit.’

That’s not to say that every sniffle will lead to full-blown flu (see Is it a cold or flu? on p26), but even a bad cold can leave us feeling miserable. So how can we protect ourselves against these winter ailments or lessen the impact if we do succumb? The recommendations and old wives’ tales are so numerous (and sometimes downright strange, from lizard soup in Hong Kong, to wet socks in England and pickled plums in Japan), that it’s hard to know which advice – if any – to take seriously.

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About Healthy Food Guide

A healthier Christmas all wrapped up in this festive issue. Lower stress with our expert guide that helps you relax and take holiday pressure in your stride. Food wise, all the classics, from turkey to trifle, have been made healthier, plus tips for feeding veggie or gluten-free guests. And, of course, there’s chocolate! HFG nutritionists reveal the healthiest treats. Plus, ways to beat colds and flu, and get better faster.