Brits have revealed their strategies for avoiding colds and other winter illnesses this year – including wiping down door handles, getting more sleep, and eating lots of spicy foods.
A study of 2,000 adults found 58 percent think their immune system has been weakened by months of isolation due to the pandemic.
As a result, 43 percent are going to take extra steps to better protect themselves in the hope of preventing illness this winter.
This also includes continuing with the precautions of the pandemic, such as wearing a mask, using hand sanitiser and avoiding busy public spaces.
Other methods include staying in well-ventilated areas, eating immune-booting foods like oranges and spinach, and drinking plenty of water.
The study, commissioned by self-care company Perrigo UK & Ireland, to launch BecoCleanse, a solution to help protect against colds, also found 88 percent think the prevention of catching a winter illness is important.
Laure de Brauer, a spokeswoman for Perrigo UK & Ireland, said: “The winter season has long been associated with coughs and colds, but our new findings suggest that people are starting to think twice about going about their usual habits when winter illnesses are circulating.
“We’ve learned from the last 18 months that preventing and managing the symptoms of such conditions can play a vital role in minimising the impact, not just on ourselves but on our public health service too.
“Whatever your approach to taking precautions in public, being aware of how you can manage symptoms yourself through the right over-the-counter treatments is more imperative than ever.”
The study also found that the average winter illness will provoke at least three grumbles a day, and wipe out 65 percent of sufferers for several days.
And 40 percent believe that these illnesses are likely to be more common this winter than previous years.
However, 54 percent are determined not to let winter illnesses hold them back this year, while 47 percent are keen to make up for lost time due to the pandemic.
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But 56 percent are more likely to call in sick to work with mild illnesses than before the pandemic, and 26 percent feel less guilty about doing this now.
The study, carried out via OnePoll, found women are more vocal about their colds than men (21 percent versus 18 percent), but both agreed that men generally get worse symptoms.
And the older generation tend to put up with it, while millennials complain about cold and flu symptoms most.
However, 72 percent of consumers don’t know what type of cough they have – and as such seek out treatments without knowing for sure if the medicine they are taking will actually alleviate their specific cough symptoms.
Farah Ali, superintendent pharmacist at Warman-Freed, Perrigo’s learning pharmacy, said: “Winter this year is going to affect everyone differently in light of a challenging 18 months.
“What we are seeing is a divide between those that will continue to remain vigilant, and those that want to face the world again confidently.
“Whatever your preference, there are simple ways to better protect yourself and your loved ones.
“The right over-the-counter medications can help relieve illness-spreading symptoms help prevent viruses and bacteria taking effect in the first place.”
TOP BUG-FIGHTING STRATEGIES BRITS PLAN TO USE THIS YEAR:
- Wearing a mask while out in public
- Using hand sanitiser frequently
- Eating immune-boosting foods like oranges and spinach
- Staying in as much as possible
- Avoiding busy public areas like supermarkets
- Avoiding public transport
- Getting extra sleep
- Drinking lots of water
- Washing your hands frequently
- Staying warm
- Using nasal sanitiser frequently
- Taking relief medicines
- Wiping down door handles
- Eating spicy foods
- Ensuring you are in well-ventilated areas when indoors
- Eating five fruit and veg a day
- Doing plenty of exercise
- Getting the latest flu vaccine
- Working from home where possible
- Having tissues on you at all times
FARAH ALI’S TIPS TO PROTECT YOURSELF FROM WINTER ILLNESSES THIS YEAR:
- Plan ahead to make sure you are prepared for the common health issues that can crop up during winter. A well-planned and frequently-reviewed medicine cabinet is vital so you can stay prepared.
- Recently, we've all become used to taking extra steps to reduce the risk of spreading viruses – if you are comfortable continuing to wear a mask where appropriate and avoiding busy places, this can contribute to keeping winter illnesses at arm's length, too.
- When it comes to preventing winter illnesses, nasal cleaning products can help to eliminate nasal viruses, bacteria and allergens, and protect against colds.
- Treating coughs can help stop a cold from spreading further.
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