Editorial Assistant Hannah Hudson on dodging those seasonal germs
Someone has let a goose into the office. Or at least that’s what it sounds like. There’s a sad sort of honking noise coming from across the corridor. Concerned that something may have gone very wrong with the sixth day of Christmas (Tesco Magazine HQ is certainly not the ideal place for six laying geese) I decide to investigate.
A few moments later I’ve closed the case. My lovely colleague is hunched over her keyboard, doing her best impression of a clown’s bicycle horn. With eyes red-rimmed and a tissue tucked conveniently up her sleeve, she smiles a sad watery smile and beckons me closer.
Through the hazy scented fug of Lempsip and Vick’s Vapour Rub I can see that she’s trying to tell me something, so I lean in. Her voice creaks like an old door.
‘Save yourself,’ she whispers, and immediately I understand and back away slowly. She’s got the Winter Lurgy, and she doesn’t want to pass it on. She’s become a Lurgy martyr. The Patron Saint of Snot.
She knows as well as I do that getting sick at this time of year is a social disaster. If there’s any time you want to feel healthy and full of beans, it’s the festive season. Who has time for the sniffles or a throat as dry and scratchy as a pebble-dashed wall?
And with a week to go until the office Christmas party, I am determined not to succumb. So I return to my desk, equipped with an effervescent Vitamin C tablet slowly fizzing away in a pint of water. I eat a banana. I blow my nose. I consider fashioning a Michael Jackson-style mask from a sock.
I console myself with the fact that remedies for winter colds are as plentiful as used tissues in our office bin. Asking around, I discover that one colleague swears by hot sauce soup. To make, you simply butcher a pile of chillis and garlic cloves, stick them into broth, add more chilli flakes and hot sauce and then drink the lot. Instant decongestant apparently – if your head hasn’t been totally blown off.
Another outdoorsy friend recommends wrapping up warm (three pairs of socks and a hot water bottle tucked down your trousers) and taking a blustery walk by the coast. Meanwhile, my 84 year-old Nana swears by a generously-boozy hot toddy before bed and a spoonful of manuka honey in the morning for warding off coughs and colds. I’m well up for that, as well implementing my own remedy – a good long steam in the bathtub until I’m as red as a well-boiled lobster.
Of course, prevention is better than cure – so that’s where I’m directing all of my energies for now. Yes, holing yourself up in a clean room for the duration of November and December would probably do it, there are other ways to winter-proof your health. It’s not rocket science – it’s all about mainlining fruit, veggies and bucket-loads of herbal teas.
Add in some nourishing soups and vitamin supplements and I’m starting to feel like Superman. So take THAT Winter Lurgy – this Christmas, your goose is cooked!
Check out our top tips for staying healthy this Christmas.