how to avoid colds/viruses?!?

I know its a bit of an impossible question, its just its become very apparent that my biggest triggers are colds and viruses. My asthma is reasonably well controlled, but the minute I have a cold or virus my asthma spirals downhill, my peak flow drops, I wake at night, have symptoms most of the day and cannot control it even with lots of reliever. In fact I know I'm coming down with someone as my asthma reacts before I even show signs of a cold/virus. In most cases I end up with a chest infection too,I think I've had one just about every month this year already. I have two younger children, help out at school and work in a hospital so avoiding colds/viruses is near on impossible. Does anyone have any suggestions on how I can protect myself?

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  • well....given that avoiding germs is the best one its a bit tricky. There really are just the obvious things, avoid people with obvsious colds whereever possible. Hand watching. Breathing through your nose more in public spaces. Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth as much as possible. Little things like opening doors without grabbing the middle of the handle can theoretically help. Be a bit OCD about hand washing. that kind of stuff. I guess you can wear something over your mouth some of the time, but working in a hosp is going to be a major source of infection so really you cant avoid germs.

    Theres also the ""do i get ill disproportionately often"" question. You are likely to get more chest infections once you have a cold, as thats what asthmatics do, but do you get more colds than other people. I guess asthmatics do that too (and are more likely to feel worse with a very mild cold) but it could potentially be a sign of a vitamin deficiency, so might be worth going to GP to get bloods to check everything is as it should be in that respect. If its kicking off asthma then a few blood tests is probably worth it!!

    All the rest of this comes with the usual ""check with GP - im not a doctor"" type warning :-)

    Zinc is meant to be good to prevent colds, there are actually quite a few studies into it as both prevention and at reducing duration of colds. This (http://www.informationisbeautiful.net/play/snake-oil-supplements/) is my favourite source of looking up whether supplements are any good (it only refers to people who are not deficient - or at least not known to be deficient). There are links to studies and stuff. The only thing that matters is the height (left/right is alphabetical, size of bubble is something about how often it is searched in google). If you click ""see data"" at the bottom, it refers to key studies into the summplements and stuff. Its obviously not going to be perfect, but this site is one concerned with the presentation of data to the general reader and stuff, so its not (as far as i know) linked to alterative medicine in any way, so in theory shouldnt be biased! Interestingly it talks about Vit D being a good supplement for ""generaly health"" and i know there have been links between Vit D and asthma as people are often deficient! I think that was TJ who said something about that!?!

    Anyway - as you said - there is no answer, but just a few ideas :-)

  • Thank you for the reply Soph. I use alcohol gel/wash hands as much as I can,and are quite OCD with avoiding germs. Hadn't thought about the door handle thing tho, although I usually use my elbow/arm to open push doors! But being in contact with germs is inevitable.

    Theres also the ""do i get ill disproportionately often"" question. You are likely to get more chest infections once you have a cold, as thats what asthmatics do, but do you get more colds than other people. I guess asthmatics do that too (and are more likely to feel worse with a very mild cold) but it could potentially be a sign of a vitamin deficiency, so might be worth going to GP to get bloods to check everything is as it should be in that respect. If its kicking off asthma then a few blood tests is probably worth it!!

    )

    I do often wonder this, as I do seem to get EVERY cold/cough/runny nose going, although touch wood seem to avoid d & v etc. I will mention this to the GP when I see him next, I have to go back in a few weeks for an asthma review.

    That website looks very interesting, I like to base my judgement on fact/figures so this site should help.

    Thank you again xxx

  • I have two younger children, help out at school and work in a hospital so avoiding colds/viruses is near on impossible.

    Ah, so you live with 2 walking petri-dishes, spend all day in a petri-dish and volunteer in a petri-dish... no wonder you get a lot of viruses! I can't imagine how frustrating that is.

    Do you use the anti-viral hand foam stuff? Soph also speaks sense about all the other stuff. My feeling based on your situation is that trying to limit exposure isn't going to work - even if you tried really, really hard you'll just be exposed 10 times instead of 100 (on any given day). So - the stuff that supports your immune system would make the most sense.

    I'm afraid I don't know anyone with small kids who isn't fighting a losing battle with endless bugs - if they're not sneezing they're being sick...

    I guess the main thing would be to try to avoid getting run down. It can be very difficult to manage the flare->steroids->crap immune system->infection->flare cycle though.

    Worth checking with your GP that there isn't anything more fixable going on though.

    The other thing some folk do is use a prophylactic antibiotic - but that would depend on how many serious chest infections you've had and what the state of your lungs is. But it's worth an ask - might stop those viruses turning into raging illness.

    hth,

    Cx

  • Ah, so you live with 2 walking petri-dishes, spend all day in a petri-dish and volunteer in a petri-dish... no wonder you get a lot of viruses! I can't imagine how frustrating that is.

    Cx

    Yep, that sums it up, lol

    Avoidance is impossible, but will ask gp if its something else going on too. Prophylactic antibiotics are worth discussing too.

    Thank you xxx

  • Thank you for your replies guys, I will reply properly when I'm on my pc and not my phone!

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