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Autumn. The season that breaks us in gently from this years’ gloriously warm summer into the dark, wet and miserable winter. It’s made worse that we have just enjoyed some very unseasonal warm weather recently. Lucky us, Wimbledon seemed to be well sheltered from the storms that battered other parts of the UK.

It’s getting chilly and forecasts of frost, cold nights and short days are matched by forecasts of some severe strains of flu heading our way. Have you considered having the Flu jab?

That’s one way of avoiding the deadlier versions of the Flu predicted this year but what about the other less dangerous cold and Flu’s? You’re on your own on that but you’re too busy being you. You haven’t got time to be sick. You become unproductive and spend a week sneezing and snotty nosed watching box sets on Netflix. Sick days should only be reserved for a cheeky midweek rendezvous…. wink wink.

Antibiotics kill bacteria, not viruses and are useless to treat colds and Flu’s. With the worldwide crisis of bacterial resistance to antibiotics, and no real new antibacterials developed anytime soon, you don’t want to make yourself susceptible to illnesses. There are antivirals but they have their own problems and side effects. You need to prevent yourself getting sick in the first place.

Here are my top simple things you can do to help keep yourself in good health and doing what you do best.

1. Keep your hands clean. Germs and viruses can survive for long periods on cold hard surfaces. These are easily picked up and passed on whenever you touch anything. Any public places or public transport are common places to pick up illnesses. Wash your hands thoroughly and use a good sterilising hand gel.

2. Load up with antioxidants. Antioxidants keep your immune system in good stead and fight off damaging free radicals. You’ll find these fabulous antioxidants naturally in fruit and berry juices. If you are worried about the high sugar content of fruits and their juice, Vitamin C tablets are almost everywhere. Just get a good brand, it needn’t cost the earth and take about 1000mg daily. A prolonged release preparation is ideal to help avoid any tummy troubles. Antioxidants are great to keep your immune system healthy but they’re no good and too late to start them if you are already ill. Prevention is better than cure. Add vitamin D supplements for a robust immune system.

3. The gut feeling. Your digestive tract, if not in good health itself, will translate into you not feeling your best, run down and quite lethargic making you an easy target for germs to invade and conquer. The solution is to super healthy, avoid sugar and processed foods. You can top up healthy gut bacteria with natural live yogurts or a good pre or probiotic supplement like Bio Kult or optibac. You’ll feel less bloated, have more energy and just feel great.

4. Feel it happening? There are some products out there that claim to stop you having a full on cold or flu. Vick’s First Defence is such. I was quite dubious with their claims when it was first launched thinking it was just more marketing than real substance. However I was proved wrong when my customers came back the following year to restock because it had worked so well with them. Start using it when you feel the telltale itch in the back of the throat for it to work best. Once you have a cold, start using Echinacea to speed up the recovery. Speak to your pharmacist for advice.

5. Exercise, fresh air and sex. Getting your heart racing with regular exercise is good for the body, we know that. But anything that gets your heart racing and has you out of breath will create that fabulous release of endorphins which have a very positive effect on your immune system. So go on, make good use of the long winter nights ahead.

Stay healthy this winter and I think I’ve just given you an excuse for a cheeky mid week rendezvous.

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