IT'S been a while since you caught a cold thanks to Covid restrictions but now the "worst cold ever" has found you…
So, how can you battle through the bug while encouraging it to get out of your system as quickly as possible?
A cold is a mild viral infection of the nose, throat and sinuses.
It can cause a sore throat, a blocked or runny nose, sneezing, a cough and aches and pains and a fever.
Symptoms normally clear up on their own in a week or two and can be helped with paracetamol and ibuprofen.
However the cold taking down thousands of Brits at the moment is taking a while to shift, with many complaining it's the worst they have ever had.
This is partly because, thanks to social distancing and lockdowns, we haven't shared germs as readily for a while.
So we have forgotten what it feels like to have a cold, and so have our bodies – with immunity out of practice in fighting the winter bugs.
But it's worth remembering that Covid can also produce cold-like symptoms in double jabbed people – so do make sure you're tested to be safe while you rest up and try not to infect others.
If it is just the classic cold, there are a few key things you can do to help boot the nasty winter bug.
1. Eat more garlic
You've probably heard this and through it is an old wives' tale, but eating more garlic can help keep you fighting fit.
Nutritionist Cassandra Barns said garlic can help protect your immune system and help shift a cold once you've caught it.
"Garlic is known for its protective properties and has been used for centuries to help with your immunity," she said.
"Acting as a powerful immune supporter, garlic boosts natural killer-cell activity and increases the efficiency of antibody production.
"If you don’t like its taste you can also try taking a supplement."
2. Do some exercise
It doesn't have to be a lot, and it depends on how you're feeling if you have already caught the bug – you'll know your body best.
But doing even a small amount of exercise can boost your immune system.
Dr Marilyn Glenville, a nutritionist and author of The Natural Health Bible for Women, said: "Exercise reduces the impact of the stress hormones, which make us more vulnerable to colds and flu.
"Normally, when these hormones are released we are in 'fight or flight' mode and we are going to spring into action.
"So, when we are active this actually helps dissipate the stress hormones instead of them building up and causing havoc on the immune function."
3. Cut back on the booze
This might be harder now we are all fully making the most of being able to mingle properly, but where you can try and cut back on the amount you drink.
It can help prevent you from picking up any germs as your body will be better primed to tackle them.
"Like too much sugar, alcohol can have a dampening effect on your immune system," Cassandra said.
"This doesn’t mean you have to cut it out altogether -not much fun over the festive season – but think twice about how much you’re drinking if you want to stay away from winter colds and flu."
4. Manage your stress
When you are stressed out it is harder for your body to fight any bugs or infections.
Cassandra said: "Stress suppresses your immune system.
"Prioritise time for relaxation.
"This could be a formal relaxation practice such as meditation, or just time set aside every day to do something you find enjoyable or fun."
5. Get plenty of sleep
You've heard this thousands of time before, if you are ill make sure you get plenty of rest.
Being well rested can also stop as getting run down and therefore more susceptible to colds and flus.
"Sleep is important for your health as it gives your body time to recharge its batteries and repair cells," Marilyn said.
"When you don’t get enough or good quality sleep you can feel irritable, with poor concentration, tired and more vulnerable to infections as your body does not have the strength to fight its own battles."
6. Eat well
Eating a balanced diet is part of maintaining overall good health and protecting yourself from illness.
Marilyn said: "Nutrients are needed for every part of your immune system, including renewal, repair and defense against infection and illness, so its strength will depend on the quality of your diet.
"No single food can provide all the essential nutrients that your body needs, and any kind of nutritional deficiency may lead to more frequent and prolonged illnesses.
"But what is a healthy, balanced diet?
"The Mediterranean diet is rich in fruits, vegetables, olive oil and whole grains, and contains adequate amounts of oily fish, nuts, seeds and legumes.
"Saturated fat, salt and sugar intake are limited, and processed, refined foods should be avoided completely."
7. Eat omega 3
Eating more omega 3 can also boost your immune system.
"Try to eat oily fish like sardines, salmon or mackerel three times a week," Marilyn added.
"They are rich in omega 3, which not only help reduce inflammation but also increase airflow and protect the lungs from colds and respiration infections."
If you don't like fish, try a daily supplement from your local pharmacy.
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