It is easy to forget our health at this hectic time of year. The festive season is often associated with an increase in seasonal coughs and colds and we are also exposed to the overindulgences of the party season.
With the GP surgeries being ever busier at this time of year there are some simple measures we can take to combat a cold. We should drink plenty of fluid, get plenty of rest, and eat healthily. You cannot cure a cold; it is a virus and must run its course. However, you can take steps to alleviate the symptoms, with many different types of over the counter medications available. The Pharmacist is the expert on medicines so pop into your local pharmacy and ask for their advice. Most preparations are based on Paracetamol which helps to reduce temperature and ease the aches and pains. Most cold and flu remedies will also incorporate other ingredients such as a decongestant to ease the nasal symptoms. Always check with your pharmacist that the product is suitable for you especially if you are on other medications prescribed by your GP.
For those of you concerned about Flu it's still not too late to have a flu jab. Many people are entitled to a free flu jab on the NHS and your GP can provide this for you. Many pharmacies also provide flu vaccination – some on the NHS and others on a private basis. Often you can get your flu jab without the need for an appointment.
Christmas is also a time for overindulgence. Whilst we all want to enjoy ourselves we must remember to eat and drink healthily and sensibly. Rich food, plentiful alcohol and lack of exercise all contribute to a sluggish system. Go easy on the chocolates and nuts and perhaps have bowls of fruit around instead.
Set a goal of taking some regular exercise over the holiday period even if it's just a simple 30 minute walk each day.
And don't forget the dangers of too much alcohol. It's easy to get carried away with the party spirit but know your limits and stick to it. If you are planning a night out with friends organise your lifts home before-hand and don't be tempted to get behind the wheel after drinking, whatever the circumstances. On Christmas day it may be tempting to crack open the bubbly as soon as you're dressed but try and save it for later in the day and try and space the alcoholic drinks with soft ones to give your liver a chance to recover.
But above all remember that it is a time to enjoy.