Every year we see cold and flu cases peak throughout autumn and winter, and unfortunately 2022 seems to be the same. With the BBC reporting that “we must prepare for a big, early wave of flu” based on Australia’s experience this winter, what can you really do to help fend off the inevitable cold & flu season this year?
2022 cold and flu season vs previous years
So what is all the fuss about this year compared to previous years? Well, it is believed by experts that our immune systems have not built up the same level of immunity to the influenza virus after having a break from exposure to the disease during the various lockdowns and lack of socialising we saw throughout 2020 and 2021. Based on the BBC report, Dr Hopkins said: "I am more worried about flu than I have been for the last few years because of the reduction of immunity that is around."
How to fend off flu this year
If you are concerned about flu, first things first, get a vaccination. They can help prevent people getting very sick, and the NHS is offering free flu shots to about 33 million people in the UK this autumn with about 26 million people also being eligible for a free Covid booster to top up their immunity. These are both highly recommended for those who have a higher risk of illness including:
- everyone over 50
- pregnant women
- people with certain underlying health conditions
- care-home residents
- front-line health and social care workers
For all primary school children and some secondary school children, as well as youngsters aged two or three, they can get a free nasal spray flu vaccine, this is especially important for young children who may not have encountered the flu yet. More information on vaccinations can be found on the NHS website.
On top of getting vaccinated
Alongside the vaccination there is plenty you can do to help top up your immune system and ward off colds and flu:
- Ensure you are getting your vitamins – be it through food or supplements, the best vitamins for the immune system include Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin A and Vitamin D
- Getting plenty of sleep – poor quality sleep and can make you feel rundown and more susceptible to illness, so prioritise your sleep this autumn and winter
- Reduce your stress levels – we know this is easier said than done but stress is one of the biggest causes of a weakened or compromised immune system, so remember to take time for yourself and reduce your stress on a daily basis
Learn more about ‘boosting’ your immune system.