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Southport Reporter®

Edition No. 192

Date:- 20 March 2005

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Colds hit Britain’s Youth this Winter

33% of people suffered a cold or flu over the Christmas period and almost half that number are suffering now, according to a recent ICM survey for Beechams. In the midst of fears about an influenza pandemic and bird flu, Beechams research reveals that it was the 18 to 24 year olds who were most likely to suffer during the festive season, 40%, a group not usually seen to be in the ‘high risk’ category. 

Lawrence Godfrey, Senior Brand Manager for Beechams Cold and Flu products comments:- “Contrary to expectations, the younger age group seems to have been the worst hit. Only 24% of those over 65 suffered over Christmas compared to 40% of under 24 year olds. This could be due to the older generation heeding advice and having the flu vaccination, which is effective against a certain strain of flu, and also the younger age group partying a bit too hard at this time of year and getting run down, which can make them more susceptible to illness.

In line with this, some students surveyed were revealed to suffer more colds and flu during term time compared to when they are living back at home with their parents, suggesting that the myth of ‘freshers’ flu’ really does exist. Lawrence suggests:- “Students who are outside the environment in which they have grown up may come into contact with strains of the cold virus to which they have not developed any resistance. Coupled with this they are often living closely in large groups which can exacerbate the risk of virus transmission both in the air and through direct or indirect contact with an infected individual.”

It is also notable that there were no differences between gender for cold and flu incidences during December and January. 

Beechams advises 6 ways to fight back against colds and flu over the Winter period:-

1. A Healthy Lifestyle Helps You Stay Healthy: Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables and ensure you have a balanced diet.

2. Take precautions: Ask your GP about flu vaccinations and whether they may be appropriate for you.

3. Wash Your Hands Regularly - Whether or Not You Have a Cold or Flu. Cold and flu viruses are spread in droplets of mucus when we cough and sneeze, some of which will be caught on the hands of the infected individual. Touching your eyes or nose with an infected hand is one of the easiest ways to catch a cold or flu. 

4. Drink Plenty of Fluids. It’s important to keep hydrated and hot drinks can help soothe a sore throat and ease a cough.

5. Listen to Your Body. If you are unwell and feel tired, rest to let your body regain the energy it needs to fight back.

6. You Can Self Medicate and although medicines will not cure the infection there is a lot they can do to help you fight the symptoms and get ‘back in action’ more quickly. Medicines can also help you feel much better while the infection is there. 

Could yoghurts provide the solution to bad breath?

BRITAIN'S leading oral health charity says that sugarless yoghurts could help people beat bad breath while also fighting tooth decay and gum disease. The British Dental Health Foundation, providers of free impartial dental advice to the public, was talking after researchers in Japan revealed that eating traditional, sugarless yoghurt reduces the malodorous compounds that cause bad breath.

The results of the study were presented at the International Association for Dental Research's annual meeting on March 10.

Volunteers in the study were given strict instructions for oral hygiene, diet and medication intake. They then spent 2 weeks avoiding yoghurts and similar foods such as cheese before moving on to consume 90 grams of yoghurt a day for 6 weeks. The study found that after 6 weeks the hydrogen sulfide levels (a major cause of halitosis) decreased in 80% of volunteers who had bad breath.

Dr Nigel Carter, chief executive of the Foundation, commented:- "The Foundation has long been drawing people's attention to sugar-free yoghurts as a healthy snack, so it is pleasing to hear that it may have oral health benefits we were previously unaware of. Frequent consumption of sugary snacks is the principle cause of tooth decay, which can cause a great deal of pain and discomfort. Although this research is still in the early stages there is no doubt that sugar-free yoghurts provide a much healthier alternative to sweets and chocolate, and we would encourage snackers to incorporate them into their diet."

Bad breath affects 25% of people on a regular basis, while 19 out of 20 people are affected by gum disease at some point in their lives.

Dr Carter continued:- "With regards to oral health people should not get too excited by this research - the best way to beat bad breath is still a good oral health routine. A good oral health routine involves brushing twice-a-day with fluoride toothpaste, cutting down on the frequency of sugary snacks and drinks, flossing daily and visiting your dentist regularly, as often as they recommend. As far as yoghurts are concerned, they certainly cannot do any harm - but make sure you pick a sugar-free brand or you will be undoing all your other good work!"

For free oral health advice from a team of experts contact the British Dental Health Foundation's Dental Helpline on 0845 063 1188.

Southport Photographic Society Exhibition 2005
19 March to 9 April 2005

A stunning display of photographs awaite you at the Atkinson Art Gallery, Lord Street, Southport. The exhabition has images taken by award winning photographers from all over the country for you to see for free. Open Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from 10am to 5pm and Thursday and Sunday from 10am to 1pm.
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