Hints and tips ladies? Time to manage perils of cold, flu and norovirus season

An question about cat germ care from Margaret on other string started me thinking. Its that time of year when we must ALL protect ourselves from any more health trauma than we already cope with every day - especially all of us on chemo. I can only imagine how norovirus would hit us like a ton of bricks. We will all have ideas and tips on how to be smart -- shall we gather them?

Big push on the Beeb yesterday - norovirus which is in full swing

Annual flu is coming round again - and colds are always rampant

Christmas is looming - some may not socialise as much this year but there will be visitors

My starters - trying to help visitors help us

> Disinfectant wipe regularly on all doorknobs (and the flat bit of door above we all push)

> Bought a cheapie plastic pump bottle and decanted the antimicrobial hibiscrub they sent me back we from the hospital for the downstairs loo.

> Ask visitors to use the bottle of alcohol gel I picked up in boots on way in

34 Replies

  • My GP gave me the flu jab


  • Good point - I was told timing important if on chemo, I now recall - needs to be in an off week for me no less than 5 days before my bus session. And I forgot completely to organise it... Thank you!

  • BIG session, even

  • Yes, he gave me the jab in the third week of the chemo cycle. About five days before chemo day. I was fine except for having a very very sore arm for a few days.

  • We always take a month's worth of high dose echinacea tablets in the autumn. Having worked in primary schools for 38 years, you get exposed to a fair spread of snots and dribbles!!!! I have no idea if it works and it would need checking out with Onc dept or CNS first if you are on a chemo regime. I know this is tempting fate but we haven't had a bad dose of colds or flu for years. I didn't have chemo though, so I know that makes a huge difference.....

    Love Wendy xx

  • Hi Wendy,when I was on chemo, I was given a large bag of echinacea tablets, I asked my oncologist and he gave it a big "No-No" so you are right, you do need to check with them first, saying hat I have been through chemo twice in winter time and not a sniffle or sneeze but then Tony is very good at protecting me, to the point of being rude if someone came with a bug of any sorts LOL. Like you said it does make a huge difference on what you can take. Love x G x :-)

  • I was invited along to my GP surgery a couple of weeks ago for a flu jab. Unfortunately, on the day itself I was laid low with a horrible vomiting and diarrhoea bug and couldn't go anywhere. At first I thought it was something more serious but after several hours my husband started throwing up too and we both breathed a sigh of relief.

    We caught it from a cuddly two year old who had diarrhoea on the day we visited. Her parents caught it too so it was obviously a strong bug.. As Wendy says, it is very easy to pick things up from little ones.Took us a few days to recover but now back to normal. Just glad nothing like this happened when I was on Chemo.

    Still intending to have the jab.


    Mary xx

  • I learned how vulnerable we are when entire chemo patient group went down with violent stomach bug in my last lot. Five of us were hospitalised. So can even get into clean environment - from a patient, buddy, nurse...

  • How awful for you, I watched in the chemo ward once where a member of staff walked up to a door with a pile of files in her hands then hesitated, looked at the anti bacterial dispenser so then put the files on the floor, disinfected her hands then picked her files up off the floor Doh! ...I didn't have the courage to tell her,(I should have) love x G x :-/ ;-)

  • OMG what a dumbo... But I guess at least she was thinking....or trying to...

  • Clean environment - in a hospital!!!! I think not. They're hot-houses of germs and bacteria and if you could possibly avoid them you'd do well to do so. It's a shame we can't have our chemotherapy in a cleaner environment - a chemotherapy pub would be rather nice.

    My lovely friend Ron Eccles is a Rhinologist at Cardiff University's Common Cold Centre. He told me there are enough germs on a £1 coin to infect every person in India with the common cold.

    He says there is absolutely no cure for the common cold but it's best prevented by washing your hands in the manner shown on the posters by hospital washbasins at least 10 times a day and avoiding rubbing your eyes in the inner corner by your nose. He says soap and water is just as good as antibacterial gels.

    Ron should know about avoiding colds as he spends every day of his working life with people who have them. He pays them (mostly students) a fiver a day to try out the many cold remedies on the market. (He says none of them work.) He very rarely, if ever, catches a cold himself and puts this down to washing his hands regularly and using a bit of tissue to open the loo door as he says that's the other major place you can pick up infections.

    I agree with Wendy that a supplement of vitamin C, echinacea or Barocca or some other product is a good preventative.

    I'm not sure it's at all possible to prevent getting infections or stomach bugs if they're around. I rather favour getting out in the fresh air, plenty of ventilation in the house, and not having the central heating turned up too high. All that, and eating a good balanced diet and getting some exercise.

    love Annie xxx

  • Hi Annie Actually,

    I just mentioned to Wendy that when I was on chemo, having been given a large bag of echinacea tablets I passed it by my oncologist and he gave a definite no,people on chemo, really do need to check what they can take and pass it by their oncologist first,not by a nurse because although most nurses are in the know, some are not.

    what everyone needs is a "Tony" he was very good at protecting me, on both lines of chemo given throughout the winter I never as much as had a sniffle. Love x G x :-)

  • the problem, I find, is that the training of doctors prepares them to be drug barons or prosectors. They either chop it off or give you drugs for any problems you have. There is no part in their training that includes complimentary therapies, diet, exercise, etc as you find in the medical training overseas.

    This means if you ask a BMA trained practioner if you can take Echinacea or anything else they'll just say no because they don't know about it and it wasn't on their fact sheet when they did their oncology training.

    I had a massive skiing accident some 30 years ago and ended up in an alpine hospital. If you're going to break a bone it's the best place to be. I was seen by a collection of practioners - including an aromatherapist, an osteopath and chiropracteur in addition to the orthopaedic surgeon. They discussed the options and I was given a range of treatments that enabled me to ski the very next day. They recommended I continue to have osteopathy after returning to the UK.

    On my return I visited my GP. He did the standard BMA test on my spine and said as far as his training informed him I was perfectly OK. At the time I remained severely concussed, couldn't spell but for the first time in my life I could put a dart in the bullseye every time.

    My GP was a close friend. His son had trained to be an osteopath against his wishes but he said he was coming round to the idea of alternative therapies and suggested I book an appointment with his son.

    I hadn't seen his son for some years. I walked into his practice room and he said straight away - 'You've had an accident. What has happened'. He spotted straight away the body wasn't aligned properly. I had osteopathy for nearly a year. Funnily enough he said that severe accidents were believed to lead to problematic chronic illnesses in later years and actually mentioned cancer as being one of them.

    Now I'm not saying there's any double-blind technique to evaluate which approach was better but I do feel the medical training in the UK is flawed and account should be taken into how complimentary therapies, diet and exercise can contribute to wellness rather than doctors just treating sickness once it's reared it's ugly head.

    Probably at the end of the day Gwyn, we must all do what we think best so that probably gives us lots of options to choose from.

    You can certainly send Tony down here to look after me when he's satisfied you're getting on OK.

    loads and loads of love xxx Annie

  • Yes I agree,but in this paticular instance my oncologist was young and very up to date with treatment, I trusted him 100% he later went off too Cambridge to do more research into Chemotherapy I certainly don't think he was one to "blanket things" also he is not from the UK..on the contrary he comes from a country that echanasia is widely used...

    My present oncologist spent a large amount of his career working in America so we can't assume that their knowledge is not broad just because they are practising in this country ...

    I had an old friend (who back in the fifties) he developed and pioneered a cure for children in Nepal and Africa the technique is still used today (all over the world) he was UK trained... not all doctors bury their head in the sand (as much as the "alternative brigade" would have us think) Love x G x :-)

  • I meant to say that the hospital I am treated at has a "complimentary unit" attached so they are not against complimentary therapies either xx :-)

  • wow wish mine did. I might suggest it to them - though they do offer reflexology at a later stage. xxx

  • When I was in Velindre a few months ago there was a therapist coming round the outpatients waiting room offering reflexology, there were a few treatments on the pamphlet she gave me xx

  • Dear Annie & Gwyneth,

    This just goes to show how very different oncologists can be, when I saw mine last week I asked her about taking echinacea and she said it was fine. I also said I had read that Omega 3 can interfere with chemo (I also take that) was that maybe why my cancer had come back so quickly? I think she thought I was being ridiculous! As far as she was concerned the vitamins I take were fine, so I shall carrying on taking them. Like Annie I make sure I get plenty of fresh air, eat fresh fruit and veg and try to look after myself. I have seen an osteopath for years as I suffer from chronic back pain, and totally swear by it, as it's helped me so much.

    We just have to go with what we believe is right with the advice of our oncologist etc...

    We will form an orderly queue for Tony if that's okay with you Gwyn.

    Love Linda xx

  • Hi Linda,

    Was it Dr Joythamia who said you could take echinacea because when I asked if I could take it during chemo she said no. I used to take the drops that you mix in water. i have finished chemo now so I think I will start taking it again although I do have a cold and very bad cough at the moment.

    I am going to research it now on the web.

    Love Babs x x

  • I'm really sorry you've got a bad cold and cough. Hope I didn't pass mine to you in London. Lots of lemon, hot water and honey is very soothing. I also got a bowl of steaming hot water and put my head over that. It helped the dry throat a lot.

    Get well soon. xxxxxx

  • There is a small article in this quarter Ovacome News Letter about vitamin D and fish oil.

  • Thanks Chris obviously missed that x

  • Isn't that odd? very contradictory it might be though because you are not on chemo,

    I only asked when I was on chemo so can't speak about any other time,I am so glad I don't need to take anything at any other time anyway,I wouldn't be consistent and

    I would forget to take them,I manage to keep relatively well without supplements of any kind, even the echanasia tablets I had given me are still in the packet (probably out of date now) but I have always been hopeless taking medication it doesn't seem to enter my thinking, when I went to the optician he asked what medication I was taking and I said "none" to which he said "what about chemo?" and I forgot that I was on chemo at the time LOL like Annie said some people are more prone than others to colds etc ...I don't think I can be...love x G x :-)

  • Hi Gwyneth, well did you see that Babs and I have the same oncologist and she told Babs she couldn't and me I could.......so what can you make of that? Give up I think and go with the flow!

    You are very lucky not to get colds etc...it's surprising how awful they can make you feel. If you don't need pills then don't take them ...good for you. Don't know how you could forget you're on chemo though haha!

    Hope you're keeping warm and well.

    Love Linda xx

  • Hi Linda,

    Yes that is what I was referring to, that the same oncologist gave a different advice daft you ask me!!!!! I feel I was very fortunate the first time I had chemo as Carlos (my oncologist) was very direct and helpful so I had no problems in trusting him...he said from now on I will be your brain and I didn't mind at all..I was sad to see him leave but at least he left after my chemo was ended so I did have his care right the way through ...lots of love x G x :-)

  • Hi Gwyn

    Can I please borrow Carlos (you'll just have to track him down!!) and Tony? I am dreading getting all the nasty bugs that float around in the winter when we come home next week, and as for a brain, mine has been awol for a long time 8-)

    Monique x

  • Aww Moique,

    It will be so good for you to be home, I am sure you and your family are really looking forward to it.

    Sadly Carlos moved to pastures new :-( he got married and in a short space of time has had a few children (well his wife has LoL) everyone loved him and all the others were envious that I managed to see him every time when they were being passed around different oncologists. Tony on the other hand is like a guard dog probably better than Raffles there are similarities in the way he snaffles things but of course not shoes or hemlines haha. Love x G x 8-) still sunny here

  • Hi Babs

    Yes it was her, although I suppose she did say it when I wasn't having chemo, but I did specifically ask if it interfered with chemo. Even worse if the same oncologist says something different to 2 patients!! Just got a follow up letter from her after my appointment last week. How come there is always so much more in the letter? I've had to sit here googling things I don't understand,,,which is quite a bit lol!

    Like you I have this horrible cold and cough, have had it for over a week so really the the echinacea.

    Hope you are ok apart from that. Are you looking forward to going back to work next week?

    Love Linda x x

  • Hi Linda

    Yes so looking forward to going back to work. What did the letter say Im worried now maybe you can message me either here or on Facewbook x

    love Babs x

  • Hi Babs

    Please don't worry, the whole letter is full of such long medical terms it threw me. Typical that I was alone when I got it. I did think of ringing a nurse specialist to get her to explain it, but I've never actually spoken to one, have you? Anyway I will send you a message via Facebook as it's a bit complicated.

    Love Linda xx

  • Hi Linda, do phone the nurse specialist, I am sure she won't mind. Our team of CNSs are wonderful, all of them, and I have only heard good reports about them from women on here and from other friends. They have the communication skills and seem to have the time to explain things in terms you can understand as a human being! Mine never minds me asking her questions that might seem too trivial for the GP or oncologist. Good luck

    Love Wendy xx

  • Hi Wendy thank you I will do that. It just seems odd that after a year I have had no communication with them, but I suppose I haven't needed to. I was given a card when I was first diagnosed so I will look it out.

    Love Linda xx

  • Hi PRChick

    Just thought I would say that my GP would not give me the flu jab so then I asked the oncologist at hospital (I am under Prof Gabra) I was told not while on chemo so I guess everyone is different


  • I guess so, Bettyann! No wonder we get confused...


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