Pharmacist pinpoints number one area to focus on to boost immunity to colds and flus

Winter has taken hold of the country, and so too have the familiar winter aches and pains.

But if you feel like colds have been rougher and lasted longer this winter, a pharmacist who spoke to TVNZ 1's Seven Sharp said you're not imaging it.

Christchurch pharmacist Annabel Turley, who owns and runs three pharmacies called the 2019 cold and flu season "probably the worst we've actually seen for a few years."

"People seem to be getting sick and staying sick, and they just really can't really shake off those bugs," Ms Turley told Seven Sharp.

She said the best way to get better is to take prescribed medication and "soldier on."

"Ideally, we'd all take off to Fiji for a week and relax and see some sunshine and get better but, you know, mortgages and work pressures – we pretty much have to drug up and soldier on."

Ms Turley said the best way to make us less susceptible to getting a cold or the flu is taking care of our gut health.

"Overall, if we start looking after our gut health, that will probably make a massive difference, because you make 70 per cent of your immune system in your gut.

"You can do that by eating more fruit and veges, reducing your stress in life, and just generally looking after yourself is a really good way."

She also dispelled the myth that you can catch a cold from being cold, saying, "Colds are from viruses, they're not from the cold air."

Ms Turley shared her top tips for staying healthy this winter, including resting when you can.

"Get to bed early; eat some good food; rest when you can; take some good drugs from the pharmacy, of course; and maybe some immune-supporting supplements as well," she said.

"Early nights is probably the best thing that you can do."

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So do you stay at home, or drug up and ride it out? Seven Sharp asks the experts. Source: Seven Sharp

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