How to stop winter illness from ruining your Christmas: Experts share top tips

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Winter illness can seem like a constant battle as the common cold, flu and coronavirus circulate the nation. With the threat of COVID-19 already looming over our Christmas plans, maintaining a healthy lifestyle is crucial to staying well this season. spoke to the medical experts to find out exactly what you can do to keep cold weather illness at bay this Christmas.

With just one week to go until Christmas arrives, the nation is gearing up for the festivities.

Whether you’re spending the special day away from your home or have the pressure of hosting family and friends this year, keeping well is the key to enjoying a safe and carefree day.

From tackling symptoms of the common cold, to limiting the spread of coronavirus, there are plenty of solutions to stopping winter illness in its tracks.

Everything from a good night’s sleep to increasing your winter walks could boost your immune system this winter, but what other measures can you take to secure a healthier Christmas day?

How to limit the spread of coronavirus this Christmas

Speaking to, Clinical Director and Superintendent Pharmacist at Medicine, Direct Hussain Abdeh said: “In light of the new Covid variant, it is best to avoid close contact with others unless it is absolutely necessary in the run up to Christmas.

“If you have vulnerable loved ones, it may be an idea to limit how much socialising you do before the big day.”

Now is the time to keep practising extra hygiene measures like more frequent hand washing, regular use of masks and hand sanitisers to protect yourself from exposure to the virus while finalising the last of your Christmas preparations.

Hussain added: “Staying fit over the winter months will help to keep the blood pumping properly around the body, which can keep you in shape and strengthen your immune system.”

  • Boost your immune system with a regular sleeping pattern and take the time to rest up over the festive period
  • Burnout and feelings of fatigue could compromise your body’s ability to fight off colds and viruses

The NHS suggests most adults need between six and nine hours of sleep every night.

How can I prevent a cold from ruining my plans?

If the often frustrating symptoms of a common cold strike you down, there are a few quick fixes to help limit your illness from worsening in the run-up to Christmas.

Dr Crystal Wyllie from Asda Online Doctor by ZAVA recommends using targeted treatments on top of a healthy lifestyle full of nourishing foods, liquids and plenty of rest.

To tackle a stuffy nose, she suggests: “Try putting your head over a bowl of steaming water, which helps to loosen the mucus in your nose – having a hot shower can also have a similar effect.

“Some people also find that breathing in eucalyptus or menthol oils also help clear their airways.”

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How to get rid of a sore throat fast

Over the counter painkillers such as paracetamol and ibuprofen can help with aches and pains, but anti-inflammatory ingredients are the key to soothing a sore throat.

Dr Crystal says over the counter lozenges, syrups and throat sprays can all help to ease a sore throat, as can a warm salt-water mouth rinse.

Is soup good for colds?

It’s known as a winter warmer, but there is some evidence that chicken soup could help when you have a cold.

Dr Crystal said: “This is because the soup contains anti-inflammatory agents such as garlic which can help the immune system fight germs, while the heat of the soup can act as a decongestant for a blocked nose or cough.”

She added: “If your cold or flu is accompanied by an irritating cough or sore throat, you can try soothing it with honey – either on its own or mixed with warm water and lemon.”

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Prevention is key

New research conducted by leading cold prevention brand, ColdZyme has revealed 75 percent of consumers are planning to use extra protective measures against cold and flu this season.

Heightened awareness of respiratory illnesses due to the pandemic was found to be the most common reason for consumers wanting to take a hold on their health this season.

Kristoffer Ahlerup, Commercial Director of Enzymatica said catching the early symptoms of common illness like a cold could significantly shorten the duration of your symptoms.

Drink lots of water

Kristoffer explained: “Hydration has a significant impact on our body’s ability to fight the common cold.

“Not drinking enough water can cause the mucus inside of our sinuses to become thicker, and therefore harder to clear out, resulting in congestion and coughing.”
Balance your intake of fluids this Christmas by drinking one glass of water for every glass of alcohol or fizz.

Add more pillows

Sleeping with an extra pillow can allow for a better night’s sleep when you begin to show the early symptoms of cold or flu.

If the mucus trickles down the back of your throat onto your soft palate, it can make you cough – so Kristoffer advises sleeping with an extra pillow to help the mucus drain.

Soothe your sinuses

Kristoffer suggests: “Popping a hot (not too hot!) towel over your upper face can feel soothing but also will dilate the nasal passages giving you a little respite from the congestion, allowing you to drift off if you are having trouble sleeping.”

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