How to Beat Flu This Winter

Professor Ron Eccles, professor emeritus of biosciences at Cardiff University, recommends a number of sensible, simple, preventative measures to help us avoid flu and colds.

Due to the fact that there was very little influenza around last winter (courtesy of lockdown and social distancing), our resistance to it this year is likely to be lower. The good news is that there are several ways we can prepare ourselves to avoid being stricken.

Get vaccinated: The most effective thing you can do is to get yourself a jab, says Eccles.

Vitamins: Research by Queen Mary London found that vitamin D supplements helped to cut the risk of colds and flu by half. Maintaining a healthy, balanced diet should be enough to get the rest of the vitamins your immune system needs, but if not then it might be worth further supplementation, says Eccles. “Maybe even take Vitamin C if you're not eating much fruit and vegetables,” he says.

Keep moving: Professor Janet Lord, professor of cell biology at the University of Birmingham, says sitting down for too long will not help your immunity. The reason is because many of your immune cells are transported around your body not in your blood, but in your lymph: a clear fluid that is pushed around your body by the movement of your muscles. “Any type of exercise will move the lymph around the body”, she says.

Get enough sleep: During this period of rest, your body’s ability to fight infection is reset and replenished, says Eccles.

Adopt preventative measures: Eccles says that continuing some Covid-era precautions would be a helpful way to avoid catching flu in the first place. Eccles says that he makes sure to wash his hands after being in crowded places, and still wears a mask if he is going somewhere very busy.