Natural Remedy for Hay Fever Cough

Hay fever may make symptoms of asthma, such as coughing and wheezing, feel worse. In fact, people with respiratory symptoms may experience continuous coughing as a result of their hay fever. This is likely to be due to the type of allergens affecting them. However, if a cough becomes unusually persistent, it is always best to report it to a doctor. But for those with asthma already taking medication, finding a natural remedy for hay fever induced coughing is of interest.

Natural Remedy for Hay Fever Induced Coughing

Coughing is the body’s natural way of trying to clear the lungs of fluid or mucus. Mucus production increases as a result of respiratory infections, such as a cold or the flu. However, mucus also increases when a person has an allergic reaction. In the case of hay fever, this will be to a type of pollen. It’s this allergic reaction that can cause persistent coughing, as the body tries to shift mucus, or phlegm, from the lungs.

Phlegm is produced by the respiratory system. When there is a large amount of phlegm, it can clog the airways. When phlegm is present in large amounts, the body naturally coughs to expel it. This resulting cough from clogging of the airways is particularly distressing in people with asthma.

Antihistamines and decongestants are traditionally taken to help relieve symptoms of allergies and hay fever. However, neither will get rid of phlegm on the chest. Furthermore, both are drugs. Additionally, an expectorant will help to make mucus thinner so it is easier to cough up, but that too is made from a type of drug.

People with asthma know how important it is to ensure that any additional medication they take is safe to use with their prescribed asthma treatment. It is helpful, therefore, to find a drug-free cough treatment that will help with mucus clearance. A drug-free cough treatment, by its nature, will have no drug interactions.

How to Clear Mucus

A natural remedy for hay fever cough is to use a mucus clearance device. The Shaker offers chesty cough relief by shaking loose the phlegm on the chest.

The weighted ball inside the Shaker rises as the user breathes out through the device. It then falls under its own weight. However, it does this so quickly that it feels like a vibration. It’s this vibrating action that mobilises lung secretions, breaking them down and making them thinner and less sticky. This makes it easier for the user to then expel the phlegm. A productive cough will result after using the Shaker; sometimes immediately and sometimes it may be an hour later. But the productive cough that the Shaker induces will help the user to eliminate the mucus. Ultimately, this brings much relief from chest congestion.

Shaker devices are ideal for ‘shaking’ loose mucus and catarrh that is associated with:

  • Chronic Bronchitis
  • Bronchiectasis
  • Emphysema
  • Asthma
  • Cystic Fibrosis

Shaker devices are also suitable for children to use, under parental guidance, as they are easy-to-use and effective. Please always speak to a medical professional first about medical issues or concerns and also read the precautions before using.

How to Keep Your Lungs Healthy

If you are finding breathing difficult because you have a lung condition, the European Lung Foundation believes exercise is helpful. In fact, you can discover how exercise helps to keep your lungs healthy in one of our previous blogs, How To Keep Your Lungs Healthy With Exercise. Additionally, by eating a healthy diet you can also help to keep your lungs healthy. If you find this topic to be of interest, then you may like to read another one of our blogs, Foods for Keeping your Lungs Healthy.

Can Multiple Sclerosis Affect Breathing

The automatic nervous system is part of the central nervous system. It controls vital functions, one of which is breathing, which we do without thinking. According to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, it is unusual for MS to affect the nervous system and therefore breathing.

How Multiple Sclerosis affects breathing

However, patients with MS will experience muscle weakness. This affects all parts of the body, including the breathing muscles. These muscles, mainly the diaphragm and intercostals begin to lose their strength and stamina. As a result, breathing becomes more difficult and breathing in and out feels like hard work. Consequently, this adds to the feeling of fatigue, which is already a debilitating symptom of Multiple Sclerosis. Furthermore, the weakness of the breathing muscles may also impede speech and voice production.

How to improve breathing strength and stamina

A 2007 study shows that Inspiratory Muscle Training (IMT) significantly increases breathing muscle strength in people with MS. Additionally, IMT improves how well the lungs work in people with Multiple Sclerosis who have minimal to moderate disability.

The effects of Multiple Sclerosis on your body

Healthline, the fastest growing health information site, has created this medically reviewed infographic showing the effects of MS on the body.

The infographic itself provides a quick look at the effects of MS on the body. However, the rest of the article goes on to explain in more depth how this progressive neurodegenerative condition has an impact on the whole body.

New Asthma Treatment for Severe Asthma

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), are consulting again on the safety and efficacy of a new asthma treatment. The new treatment, bronchial thermoplasty, is likely to be offered to adults with severe asthma. The procedure involves applying thermal energy (heat) to the inside walls of the airways.

New asthma treatment

Bronchial thermoplasty will take place under sedation or general anaesthetic. Short pulses of radiofrequency energy are applied to the airway wall. Following that, patients will need to attend an additional two sessions, with 3-week intervals, to complete the procedure.

The aim of this new treatment is to reduce the smooth muscle mass lining the airways, decreasing their ability to constrict. Hopes are that by having this procedure, the severity and frequency of severe asthma attacks may decrease. NICE is currently in the process of considering the evidence for this treatment. Additionally, it’s listening to the views of specialist advisers with knowledge of the procedure.

Furthermore, to ensure safety, NICE is recommending that only a multidisciplinary team treat patients. In addition, they recommend that only specialist centres with on-site access to intensive care should carry out the procedure. Finally, they are proposing that only clinicians with experience of bronchial thermoplasty and managing severe asthma should perform the procedure.

As it stands, NICE believe there is adequate evidence to support the use of this new asthma treatment.

Severe asthma

In their consultation document, NICE say that in severe asthma, the lining of the airways becomes inflamed and narrow. Furthermore, this narrows the airways, making it harder for air to pass through. This makes it harder to breathe. And it is this that bronchial thermoplasty aims to tackle.

Complementary treatment for asthma

Research shows there to be an alternative, complimentary asthma treatment for opening up the airways and assist in easier breathing. This treatment is Inspiratory Muscle Training (IMT). Simply put, it is breathing muscle training, such as with the POWERbreathe IMT device. It too is clinically proven. Furthermore, it is drug-free.

The research reaches the conclusion that six-months of specific inspiratory muscle training improves inspiratory muscle strength and endurance. It also results in improvement in asthma symptoms, hospitalisations for asthma, visits to the emergency department, absence from school or work, and medication consumption in patients with asthma.

Alternative treatment for asthma – IMT

Inspiratory Muscle Training, such as with POWERbreathe IMT, is easy to use, straight out of the box. Because it is drug-free, there are only minimal precautions and contraindications that the Healthcare Professional needs to be aware of before prescribing IMT.

POWERbreathe IMT is an evidence-based, non-invasive asthma treatment. In fact, it is the amount of medical research behind the rigorous assessment that led to the POWERbreathe Medic being made available for prescription on the NHS. It offers people with asthma a clinically-proven method of reducing symptoms and putting them in control of their asthma.

Research shows that after only 3-weeks of IMT, asthma symptoms improve by up to 75%. Furthermore, patients with asthma experience improvement of symptoms, quality of life and a reduction in the consumption of medication of up to 79%.

In fact, three separate studies show an average 51% reduction in β2-agonist consumption (from 3.9 to 1.6 puffs per day) after IMT. One study also shows a decrease in corticosteroid use ~80%.

Finally, longer observations show that 6-months of IMT reduces absence from school/work (by ~95%) and use of healthcare resources (by ~75%).

What is World Asthma Day

Every year the Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA) organises World Asthma Day. The aim of this awareness day is to reduce asthma prevalence, morbidity and mortality in every corner of the globe. Their first awareness day was held in 1998. And so this year they are celebrating the 20th annual World Asthma Day. And every year they have a theme. The theme for 2018 is “Never too early, never too late. It’s always the right time to address airways disease.”

World Asthma Day 2018

This year’s theme asks both patients and healthcare providers to evaluate asthma symptoms, regardless of the time in that person’s life. In addition, they ask for actions to be taken to ensure a person’s asthma is controlled. For example, writing an Asthma Plan that contains all you need to help control your asthma, such as a list of asthma triggers, is a core part of asthma management.

Asthma triggers

There are many things that may trigger an asthma attack. In fact, anything that irritates the airways and sets off symptoms is considered an asthma trigger. Exercise is one such trigger. Yet evidence shows that people with asthma will benefit from exercise. In fact, there are many world-class athletes, including Paula Radcliffe MBE, that have asthma.

Asthma and exercise

As long as your asthma symptoms are under control then asthma shouldn’t stop you from enjoying these benefits of exercise:

  • Boosts the immune system, reducing the possibility of coughs and colds triggering symptoms
  • Increases bone and muscle strength
  • Improves overall health
  • Improves how well the lungs work, reducing the feeling of being breathless

Asthma treatment

The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute explain that asthma is a long-term disease that requires managing. And because there is no cure, the purpose of asthma treatment is to control the disease. This includes two types of medicines:

  1. Long-term control medicines – these help reduce airway inflammation and prevent asthma symptoms.
  2. Quick-relief, or ‘rescue’ medicines – these relieve asthma symptoms that have the potential to flare up.

However, there is also a drug-free therapy that is clinically proven to help reduce asthma symptoms – Inspiratory Muscle Training (IMT). Always speak to a medical professional about your medical issues or concerns first.

Natural asthma treatment without drugs

Inspiratory muscle training is a drug-free breathing training intervention for people with dyspnoea (difficult or laboured breathing). It’s not surprising, therefore, that clinical trials are unanimously supportive of IMT in the management of asthma.

In trials, patients with asthma experienced a reduction in their laboured breathing in as little as 3 weeks’ inspiratory muscle training. Furthermore, they felt improvements in their quality of life. In addition, longer-term observations following 3 weeks of IMT were also impressive:

  • Reduces absence from school/work (by ~95%)
  • Reduces the consumption of medication (by ~79%)
  • Symptoms improve by up to 75%

WHO asthma statistics

  • Asthma is a major noncommunicable disease
  • Approximately 235 million people suffer from asthma (2017) which is common among children
  • Medication can control asthma symptoms
  • Asthma management helps people with asthma to enjoy a quality of life
  • Many people have undiagnosed asthma

Asthma – how it affects breathing

Asthma is a long-term breathing condition that affects the airways. These are the small tubes that transport air in and out of the lungs. It’s these tubes that become inflamed when they come into contact with something that ‘irritates’ them. Consequently, the airways become narrower. And it’s for this reason that people with asthma feel breathless and wheezy. But these symptoms will vary in severity from person to person.

What causes asthma

In the general population, asthma affects approximately 235 million people. And here in the UK, one in every 12 adults is receiving treatment for it.

Asthma tends to run in families, so genetic predisposition is one risk factor. Another factor is environmental. For instance, exposure to particles that may irritate the airways or give rise to an allergic reaction. Such irritants may include tobacco smoke, house dust mites, pet dander, pollen or air pollution.

In addition to genetic predisposition and environmental irritants, there are also other triggers. These can include physical exercise and cold air. So, it’s no surprise to discover that exercise-induced asthma (EIA) is the most common medical issue among winter Olympic athletes. In fact, almost 50% of cross-country skiers in the 2018 Winter Olympics have EIA. But it isn’t only the cross-country skiers who’re suffering. Short-track speed skaters (43%), figure skaters (21%) and ice hockey player (15%) also suffer.

What is EIA

Exercise-induced asthma (EIA) is a condition where exercise itself becomes the trigger for an asthma event. Symptoms will surface only while exercising, or immediately following exercise. And the symptoms feel worst of all after exercise and then start to gradually improve. Treatment for EIA is the same, with long-term medicines that are taken daily. But there is also a natural treatment that is drug-free that can be used alongside medication. And that is Inspiratory Muscle Training (IMT).

Natural asthma treatment without drugs

Data exists from five randomised controlled trials that are unanimously supportive of the use of IMT with POWERbreathe in the management of asthma. In fact, the POWERbreathe Medic is clinically proven by a wealth of research, as well as, the first non-pharmacological treatment for respiratory disease and the only product of its kind on the drug tariff. It is a non-invasive treatment that is drug-free, with no side effects or drug interactions.

POWERbreathe IMT is not suitable for patients with certain conditions so please first consult your specialist respiratory health doctor.

How asthma affects exercise

Breathlessness is a common feature of exercise. Shortness of breath, coughing and wheezing are also symptoms of asthma. So, imagine being an Olympic athlete performing high-intensity training above your lactate threshold. Then imagine being a winter Olympic athlete, with asthma. Breathing moves out of its comfort zone and increases steeply. And with the breathing muscles weakening and tiring, breathing feels harder still. It would be beneficial therefore to improve the state of the inspiratory muscles, mainly the diaphragm and intercostal.

It is possible to exercise specifically the inspiratory muscles with an inspiratory muscle training (IMT) device, such as POWERbreathe IMT. Such a device provides the inspiratory muscles with a resistance to breathe in against. This resistance training makes the inspiratory muscles work harder, improving breathing strength and stamina and reducing breathing fatigue.

What exercise helps asthma

Any form of exercise is good for you and will help keep heart and lungs healthy. In fact, many well-known, world-class athletes have this condition, such as runner Paula Radcliffe and cyclist Laura Trott.

If your symptoms are well managed, and your GP gives the go-ahead, then there’s no reason to limit your choice of exercise.

Practical tips for exercising with asthma

  • Warm-up first, including an inspiratory muscle warm-up with an IMT device
  • Make sure you have your inhaler with you
  • Ensure people around you know that you have asthma
  • If you feel your symptoms coming on during exercise, take your reliever inhaler and wait until symptoms subside

Heart Failure Awareness Week 2018

What does heart failure feel like?

According to the British Heart Foundation, there are over half a million people in the UK living with heart failure (HF). They say they experience:

  1. Shortness of breath, not only during an activity but also at rest.
  2. Swollen feet, ankles and legs.
  3. Feeling unusually weak and tired most of the time, and feeling exhausted after an activity or exercise.

What causes heart failure?

It usually occurs if the heart is too weak, or ‘stiff’, to pump blood around the body as well as it used to. Consequently, the heart needs some support to help it work better again. Although HF is more common in the elderly, it can also occur at any age.

One of the most common reasons for the heart weakening is heart muscle damage. This may occur following a heart attack. But there are other conditions that can also lead to heart failure, including:

  • High blood pressure
  • Heart rhythm problems (also known as arrhythmias)
  • Coronary heart disease
  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Congenital heart disease

What can you do to prevent heart failure?

According to NHS Choices, there are a few things you can do yourself to help reduce your risk of HF. The aim of these prevention strategies is to lower blood pressure and reduce levels of bad cholesterol in the blood.

  • Tip 1: Eat a healthy, balanced diet with low-fat, high-fibre and five portions of fruit and vegetables.
  • Tip 2: Stay active with regular exercise to make the heart and circulatory system more efficient, helping to regulate blood pressure.
  • Tip 3: Maintain a healthy weight – you can find your body mass index using a BMI calculator, or ask your GP.
  • Tip 4: Give up smoking to reduce the risk of developing furring of the arteries.
  • Tip 5: Cut back on the consumption of alcohol.

What is heart failure treatment?

A cure for this condition is only a possibility when there is a treatable cause, such as replacing damaged heart valves. Otherwise, treatment focuses on controlling the symptoms. By controlling the symptoms people are able to live full and active lives.

Sometimes implantable devices, such as a pacemaker, or other surgery will be needed. However, for the majority of people, a combination of medication and lifestyle changes will be sufficient to control and stabilise symptoms.

How heart failure affects daily living

Because the heart isn’t able to pump blood around the body as well as it used to, the load on the breathing muscles, mainly the diaphragm, increases. This results in a significant contribution to the feeling of breathlessness. Consequently, this affects a person’s everyday life. In fact, something like simple everyday tasks feel tiring. As a result, quality of life diminishes.

Did you know?

During February 11- 17, the Heart Failure Society of America (HFSA) will increase national awareness about the severity of heart failure. In Europe, Heart Failure Awareness Week will fall in May.

These awareness days take place because the number of people with heart failure is increasing. In fact, projections show it will rise by 46% (2030), according to the American Heart Association’s 2017 Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics Update.

Heart failure (HF) is a long-term condition. There is currently no cure and symptoms will get worse over time. Sadly HF also has a poor prognosis, with 30-40% of patients dying within a year. However, if diagnosed early enough, symptoms can be controlled for many years.

Improving quality of life

There are many research studies showing that Inspiratory Muscle Training (IMT) successfully increases both inspiratory strength and endurance. They also show that stronger breathing muscles will alleviate breathlessness and improve functional status in chronic heart failure.

In one particular study, findings reveal that in patients with HF and inspiratory muscle weakness, IMT results in:

  • Marked improvement in inspiratory muscle strength
  • Improvement in functional capacity
  • Improvement in ventilatory response to exercise
  • Improvement in recovery oxygen uptake kinetics
  • Improvement in quality of life

Training the inspiratory muscles

POWERbreathe IMT is a hand-held breathing muscle training device. It is drug-free with no known side effects and no interactions with existing treatments. There are also no reports of any adverse events. It is easy to use as you only need to breathe forcefully IN through the device for 30 breaths, twice a day.

Because the cardiovascular strain of POWERbreathe training is very low, it is suitable for even the most physically compromised patients and is particularly helpful in patients who are too ill for rehabilitation.

POWERbreathe training is completely safe for the vast majority of patients. However there may be small theoretical risks for some patients. For instance, IMT will not be a recommendation for patients with a history of spontaneous pneumothorax.

The POWERbreathe Medic is approved by the NHS’s PPA and is available on prescription in the UK.

Always check with your doctor first before undertaking anything new for the treatment of any medical condition.

 

Relating to COPD – a report that looks into living with COPD

The World Health Organization (WHO) predicts COPD will be the third leading cause of death in 2030. In fact, the chief causes of death globally has shifted. Whereas the main cause of death used to be from infectious diseases, it is now from noncommunicable diseases. Diseases with chronic conditions, such as COPD.

Living with COPD

COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) is a group of lung conditions that cause airflow blockage and result in breathing-related problems. It includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis. The narrowing of the airways makes it harder for people with COPD to breathe in and out. And it’s these breathing difficulties that can affect many aspects of daily life. It can reduce quality of life.

There are many people living with the disease that know how to manage their condition. However, there are millions of others who are living with undiagnosed symptoms of COPD.

Statistics

The UK is 12th on the list of the top 20 countries for COPD mortality in the world. However, rates are higher in New Zealand and the United States. These statistics for COPD are part of the Respiratory Health of the Nation project, for The British Lung Foundation.

Relating to COPD

This report, however, Relating to COPD, takes an alternative look into those living with COPD. It has been compiled from the viewpoint of those with experience of COPD. So, in fact, it looks into the physical and emotional effects of COPD. An online forum inspired the idea. The study looked at keywords and phrases to understand how living with COPD makes people feel, and how deeply it can impact their daily lives.

Breathe easier with POWERbreathe IMT – reviewed in Daily Mail

The Daily Mail online features worldwide news stories from the Daily Mail and Sunday newspapers. It is the second-biggest-selling daily newspaper in the UK. And today (21st November 2017) online it features an article about devices that will help you to breathe easier. One criterion specified by freelance journalist, Adrian Monti, is that the devices are to be available on the High Street. Another, quite rightly, is that the devices must be able to back up their claims.

Chest Physician chooses ‘Breathe easier’ devices

In order to approach this from a clinical viewpoint, Adrian has been speaking to a specialist chest physician and GP.

Dr Simon Taggart is a dual accredited Consultant Chest & General Physician. He has wide experience in the field of general medicine and is a specialist in respiratory medicine at The University of Manchester. His current NHS post is with the Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust. He is also Sub-Speciality Tutor for Respiratory Medicine at The University of Manchester. He’s an expert.

Because of his expertise, Dr Taggart is knowledgeable about the devices and solutions that claim to make you breathe easier, and that are available on the High Street.

Device reviews

For each device that was suggested, supporting data and research were assessed. And in order to be able to provide a rating for each product, each one was personally tested.

Each review in the paper begins with stating the device’s ‘claim’. Dr Taggart then follows this up with his ‘verdict’ after using the product. And finally, a rating out of 10 is awarded. This he comes to after assessing the related research and user experience.

POWERbreathe IMT – a selected device

Although the description of how to use POWERbreathe IMT is inaccurate, the specified aim is. And that is to ‘gradually make breathing muscles stronger’.

You make the breathing muscles stronger by breathing IN through the device against a resistance. It’s this resistance that makes your breathing muscles work harder. And the more you use it the easier the training gets. So this is when you increase the resistance to challenge your breathing muscles again. It’s the same principle as increasing the weight of dumbbells to increase your arm strength. In fact, it is affectionately known as ‘dumbbells for your diaphragm’. And stronger breathing muscles result in a resistance to fatigue too. So both your breathing strength and stamina improve. In addition, POWERbreathe IMT is scientifically proven, and because it is drug-free, it’s being used in many clinical trials where being short of breath is an issue.

POWERbreathe – the verdict

In the paper, Dr Taggart reports using POWERbreathe IMT devices with patients to treat chronic bronchitis. He says that strengthening their respiratory muscles with it helps ease their breathing. He goes on to add that it’s also useful for those who suffer from weak lungs that would benefit from a bit of training.

Rated: 9/10

Breathe easier with POWERbreathe IMT - reviewed in Daily Mail

Also worthy of inclusion – Shaker by POWERbreathe

With the premise that a device must stand up to its claim to make breathing easier and be available on the High Street, we feel another device to be worthy of inclusion. That of the Shaker by POWERbreathe.

The Shaker is a hand-held device that is designed to loosen mucus. And it is also suitable for children (with supervision) as it’s so easy to use. Simply put, as you breathe out through the device the weighted ball inside ‘shakes’ mucus. This loosens it so that you’re able to cough it up and expel it. The result is that you’re able to breathe easier.

The Shaker by POWERbreathe is available in three models, one of which is autoclavable. As a result, it’s able to be cleaned in an autoclave, sterilising it and making it suitable for multiple-use and clinical settings.

How COPD Affects Breathing

One of the most common questions asked by people with COPD is how it affects breathing. To understand this, it’s first worth understanding how your lungs work.

How your lungs work

As you breathe in, you bring air down through your windpipe and into your airways. Your airways then branch out in your lungs into thinner tubes, called bronchioles. And at the end of your bronchioles are small air sacs.

Running along the walls of your air sacs are small blood vessels, or capillaries. When the air you breathe in reaches your air sacs, the oxygen passes through the air sac wall and into the blood in the capillaries. As this is happening the waste product carbon dioxide (CO2) moves from the capillaries and into the air sacs. This process is called gas exchange; bringing vital oxygen in to the body while removing the waste CO2.

How COPD affects breathing

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease is a group of lung conditions used to describe progressive lung diseases. These include emphysema, chronic bronchitis, non-reversible asthma, and some forms of bronchiectasis. All conditions cause breathing difficulties. If you have COPD you’ll know how difficult it is to empty air out of your lungs. This is because your airways have narrowed.

In a person without COPD, their healthy airways and air sacs are stretchy. After filling with air they will bounce back after being emptied. This elasticity helps to move air quickly in and out of the lungs.

However in a person with COPD, their airways and air sacs are no longer stretchy. They no longer bounce back. They also become swollen, thicker, and produce more mucus, making it harder to get air out of the lungs. This is what causes the symptoms of wheezing, chesty cough and breathlessness.

How COPD is treated

Unfortunately damage caused by COPD is permanent. However there are treatments that can help to stop it from progressing. Symptoms can also be managed. So with prevention the key to living with COPD, pulmonary rehabilitation is a hugely beneficial treatment.

Treatments include medication, inhalers and pulmonary rehab, including breathing exercises. Part of a Pulmonary Rehab Toolkit (Lung Foundation Australia) is Inspiratory Muscle Training (IMT), such as POWERbreathe. In fact there are many clinical studies showing the benefits of IMT for COPD. One such study concluded,

“…during IMT in patients with significant COPD, there is an increase in exercise capacity, improvement in quality of life, and decrease in dyspnea. The study also provides evidence that long-term IMT can decrease the use of health services and hospitalization days.”

Pulmonary Rehabilitation Toolkit
Pulmonary Rehabilitation Toolkit

Inspiratory Muscle Training (IMT)

A clinical study, published in the official journal of the American College of Chest Physicians, assessed The Effects of 1 Year of Specific Inspiratory Muscle Training in Patients With COPD.

Using POWERbreathe IMT it found improvements in patients with COPD, of:

  • Inspiratory muscle strength of 55%
  • Endurance of 86%
  • Quality of life by 21%
  • Dyspnoea (difficult or laboured breathing) by 36%

 

Beat Flu Symptoms this Winter

Influenza, or flu as it’s more commonly known, is around all year. However here in the U.K. at this time of year we start thinking about ‘seasonal flu’, so called because it is common in the winter months.

Symptoms

Main symptoms include a high temperature, feeling tired and achy, and a chesty cough. All of these things start suddenly. The symptoms may appear similar to a cold, but flu is a very different set of viruses. And symptoms are more severe and longer lasting. Speak to your GP if you are concerned.

Flu can leave you exhausted, especially when you are suffering from a chesty cough. It can interrupt your sleep so you wake feeling tired. However coughing is actually nature’s way of clearing your lungs. It helps to expel irritants and secretions and prevent infection.

How you catch flu

Droplets that travel in the air from a cough or a sneeze will contain the virus. And anyone who comes into contact from these droplets can catch the flu. This can happen from breathing in the droplets. It is also transmitted after touching surfaces that droplets have landed on and then touching your nose or mouth.

Prevention and treatment

An annual flu vaccine is available in the autumn, from the beginning of October to November. You can also help to prevent spreading the virus by washing your hands regularly, cleaning surfaces to rid them of germs, and by using a tissue to cough or sneeze into.

Expelling sticky mucus from your chest

Mucus clearance devices ‘shake’ the congestion in your chest. This effectively loosens it so that you can expel it. They complement regular medication because they have no side-effects or drug interactions. The Shaker devices by POWERbreathe are easy to use by both adults and children (under supervision). In fact regular use of the Shaker of between 5 to 15 minutes will produce benefits equivalent to that delivered by physiotherapy techniques.

2017 worst flu season in history

This year the NHS is bracing itself for the worst flu season in history. But you can prepare yourself by managing your symptoms at home:

  • Stay hydrated
  • Keep warm
  • Rest
  • Speak to your pharmacist about over the counter remedies for aches and pains
  • Use your Shaker by POWERbreathe mucus clearance device for thinning and dislodging mucus so that you’re able to expel it