Best remedy for cold and flu: The minty substance that can soothe symptoms

Health hack: 10 ways to cure a sore throat

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GP Dr Roger Henderson said: “Cold and flu viruses are passed from person to person through direct contact and inhalation. They can be spread from a few days before symptoms show until after they have finished, which can take anytime between one to two weeks.” If you would rather not be ill for Christmas, Dr Henderson recommends practising good hygiene in the lead up to Christmas Day and beyond. “Remember, developing a sore throat during the festive season is not a foregone conclusion,” he said.

Dr Henderson elaborated: “To improve your chances of staying symptom-free, keeping up simple hygiene measures is key.

“Avoid rubbing your eyes and touching your face, always cough or sneeze into your elbow and wash your hands frequently, for 20 seconds or more.”

As for soothing a sore throat the moment you notice a little scratch, Dr Henderson suggests stocking up on lozenges.

“A sore throat can strike at any time, ruining the festive fun and preventing you from belting out the Christmas carols,” said Dr Henderson.

“As sore throats are caused by a virus, most symptoms will ease on their own in time (often after five to seven days).

“However, in the meantime, menthol lozenges such as Jakemans can help, so be sure to stock up the cupboard in advance.”

Menthol is a minty ingredient that releases natural vapours to soothe the symptoms of a sore throat.

While indoors, Dr Henderson also cautions against the overuse of central heating, which could fill the house with “dry, dusty air”.

“This can irritate the throat, making sore symptoms feel even worse,” warned Dr Henderson.

Moreover, a sore throat can lead to the glands covering the vocal cords to under or over-produce mucus, leading to breathlessness, hoarseness, and loss of voice.

To help counteract the unwanted effects of central heating, and a sore throat, a humidifier can help to keep the air moist.

“This can also help to alleviate other niggly cold and flu symptoms, such as a stuffy nose and congestion,” added Dr Henderson.

In hopes of knocking a cold sideways, try to refrain from sipping on a glass of whiskey.

“Alcohol dries the throat and can irritate vocal cords,” Dr Henderson pointed out.

“Likewise, drinks such as tea, coffee, and fizzy drinks all contain caffeine, which is another culprit that can dehydrate your body, including your throat.”

Instead, the best drink to help soothe a sore throat and to keep hydrated is water.

Anybody who experiences a high temperature, where you feel hot to touch on the chest, should order a free NHS PCR test.

This is also true for anybody who develops a new, continuous cough or a change or loss to their sense of smell and taste.

While awaiting results from a PCR test, it is required to self-isolate at home until you receive a negative Covid test result.

Should the Covid test come back positive, you need to self-isolate for 10 days since symptoms started.

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