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Staying Flu-Free at the Business End of the Sporting Season

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If you are a sports lover, April and May will always be among the most exciting times of year. From the Masters golf to the Boat Race, the start of the county cricket season to the London Marathon, spring is a hive of athletic activity. And that’s before we even consider the climax of the domestic rugby and football seasons.

If you play competitive sport and are looking forward to some big dates ahead, the last thing you will want to feel is the onset of cold or flu. In response, you may decide to try any number of solutions to help you recover.

Here's a selection of just a few popular remedies.

Vitamin C

You will be sad to learn that there’s little evidence supporting the myth that a daily dose of vitamin will prevent an individual of falling ill from cold or flu. While vitamin C is important to the daily diet, it will not directly combat a virus or bacteria. In some tests it has, however, been found to reduce the length and severity of colds by a small margin.


Zinc is also to have some small role to play in reducing the length and severity of a cold, particularly when consumed in tablet or syrup form. In fact, a 2013 report showed that taking zinc supplements within 24 hours of the onset of cold symptoms was most effective for healthy individuals.

Once again, however, those hoping to bypass illness altogether will not find this element to be a wonder cure, sadly. And long-term use of zinc is also not advised as it has been found to cause adverse effects such as nausea.


Herbal remedies have often been used in herbal remedies to treat illness. Indeed, everything from the root to the seeds have been promoted in tackling cold and flu symptoms.

In reality, the jury is still out on the effectiveness of such treatment. In 2013 a review of the trials on Echinacea and the common cold found that there were ‘weak benefits’ to be had from some Echinacea products.

One important point to note is that under-12s should not be given Echinacea, but that adults may take tablets or other products if they feel it to be of benefit.

Flu Vaccine

The flu vaccine is also a tried and tested solution that can prevent the onset of flu. As has been seen in the last 12 months, however, the changing nature of the flu virus requires protection to be updated annually – and that it cannot guarantee protection against all strains of the disease.

Overall, it must be said that many of the most popular remedies for colds and flu symptoms have little proof to substantiate their reputation. What is recommended by health professionals across the board is the importance of maintaining a balanced diet and partaking in regular exercise as part of a healthy lifestyle. The human body is well equipped to deal with these common diseases under most circumstances, and by keeping one’s health in good shape can aid the combatting of and recovery from cold or flu.

This means for the keen sportsman and woman, your natural fitness levels are more likely to stand you in good stead when feeling under the weather.

Want to speak to a pharmacist about disease prevention and general health? Contact us today on 0208 123 0703.