How to get rid of cold and flu as outbreak sweeps through Leeds

Flu and cold outbreaks have hit Leeds
Flu and cold outbreaks have hit Leeds
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Cold and flu has broken out in Leeds this week in a big way, with sneezing, spluttering and coughing spreading through the city.

So how can you get rid of a cold - or avoid getting it in the first place?

Should you be dosing up on vitamin C, or turning to the chicken soup? Are there any tablets which can solve all your problems?

Unfortunately, there is NO cure for the common cold. However, there are a few things you can do to ease your woes.

How you can treat a cold yourself - according to the NHS

To help you get better more quickly:

rest and sleep

keep warm

drink plenty of water (fruit juice or squash mixed with water is ok) to avoid dehydration

gargle salt water to soothe a sore throat

A pharmacist can help with cold medicines. Money saving tip: There is NO difference between cheap 40p paracetamol and the expensive brands. Paracetamol is paracetamol whether it's in a basic white tablet or a fancy coloured pill.

You can buy cough and cold medicines from pharmacies or supermarkets. A pharmacist can advise you on the best medicine, but again, don't be suckered into wasting money on pricey items.

You can:

relieve a blocked nose with decongestant sprays or tablets

ease aches or lower a temperature with painkillers like paracetamol or ibuprofen

Be careful not to use cough and cold medicines if you’re taking paracetamol and ibuprofen tablets as it’s easy to take more than the recommended dose. Some medicines also contain paracetamol, so don't double up on paracetamol by accident.

Some are not suitable for children, babies and pregnant women.

There is little evidence that supplements (such as vitamin c, zinc, echinacea or garlic) prevent colds or speed up recovery. So don't go nuts on those 1000% RDA vitamin tablets because it won't make any difference!

How to avoid getting a cold or flu in the first place

For flu, get a jab. The flu jab is changed every year based on the latest strains. Children and the elderly are particularly susceptible to flu.

Colds are caused by viruses and easily spread to other people. You're infectious until all your symptoms have gone. This usually takes a week or two.

Colds are spread by germs from coughs and sneezes which can live on hands and surfaces for 24 hours.

To reduce the risk of spreading a cold:

wash your hands often with warm water and soap

use tissues to trap germs when you cough or sneeze

bin used tissues as quickly as possible

How to prevent catching a cold or flu

A person with a cold can start spreading it from a few days before their symptoms begin until the symptoms have finished. The best ways to avoid catching a cold are:

washing your hands with warm water and soap

not sharing towels or household items (like cups) with someone who has a cold

not touching your eyes or nose in case you've come into contact with the virus – it can infect the body this way

staying fit and healthy

The flu vaccine helps prevent the flu but not colds.