cold, flu,

Cold and flu are common ailments everyone is prone to, especially in chilly weather, when an unavoidable spike in the number of sore throat cases is witnessed.

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Australia is already affected by "Aussie flu," which is likely to infect people in the UK too.

Here are some tips by ear, nose and throat consultant named Alasdair Mace, who is based at London's Charing Cross and St Mary's Hospital, which can help us combat the sickness better.

Mace — an honorary senior lecturer at Imperial College London — predicted a sharp rise in the number of sore-throat cases over the coming weeks.

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"As a sore throat is usually the first symptom of a cold or flu, and we are expecting the usual significant rise in flu in the early winter period, it's inevitable that there will be a similar surge in sore throats, too," Mace was quoted by Mail Online as saying.

He advised against alcoholic beverages like hot toddy, as they can dehydrate us. Instead, he advocated the consumption of fruits such as oranges, which are a rich source of Vitamin C and boost our immunity.

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According to Mace: "95 percent of sore throats are viral, and don't respond to antibiotics, but the good news is that they will usually get better within a few days, or a week. You can often tell by looking at the back of your throat using a torch and a mirror. If it's very red and swollen, it's most likely a virus."

He added: "Any sign of yellow gunk or white spots indicates a bacterial infection. Those white spots are colonies of bacteria, just like the ones that are grown in petri dish in laboratories. A bacterial infection is usually more focused and more painful than a viral infection, although viral infections can still be uncomfortable. A virus will also affect the whole respiratory system and nasal passages, not just the throat.

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"In both cases, it is important to stay hydrated as mucus and saliva help protect the throat. A humidifier will help counteract the drying effect of central heating, or simply drape a damp towel over a radiator; it will have the same effect."

Here are some tips by Mace that can help you combat cold:

1. Eat vitamin C-rich fruits like oranges.

2. Have oysters, which are a great source of zinc.

3. To counter the effect of central heating, use a dehumidifier.

4. Have tea, as it will make you feel better without adding to the dehydration

5. Gargle with warm salty water. It will help in getting rid of cough.