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Autumn 2021Junk the jibes and get the flu jab

From the moment a now-discredited doctor floated the unfounded notion that the MMR vaccine resulted in autism, people have been more reticent to get inoculated.

Getting your flu vaccine has never been as important as it this autumn. The World Health Organization reckons, globally, up to 650,000 people die each year of influenza. And you don’t need me to remind you that a certain virus has left our NHS battered and bruised, if not yet defeated.

We simply do not know how Covid will pan out in the coming weeks and months, but booster jabs might be on offer at this time of the year. Make sure you have them.

Prevention of both flu and colds is literally in your hands. I suppose we have all become a little more hygienic, washing our hands frequently and catching our sneezes in a handkerchief. If those who are entitled, augmented that with flu and pneumonia jabs, the odds on us not getting the shivers and the sniffles would improve.

A fall in flu is not all we want to see this autumn. The nights may be drawing-in, but exercise regimes perhaps begun during lockdown should be kept up – so that everything from type two diabetes to heart conditions are abated.

Turning up the heat at home can release the kind of dust mites that result in allergies, and you may need antihistamines. Those who endure asthma due to cold air should have about them their inhaler, at all times. The chill can exacerbate arthritis too and Seasonal Adjustment Disorder raises its ugly head, causing feelings of depression and lifelessness as the light dissipates.

Pests become exactly that during the season as they search for warmth in our homes. Remember rats carry serious infections and even roosting birds cause conditions such as pigeon lung.

My top health tip for autumn is to keep boosting your immune system - vitamins, super fruits and vegetables can help improve your health and stave off everything from sinusitis to poor hair and nails.

The temptation might be to hibernate and be sedate and eat fodder that is rich in fat, salt, and sugar to comfort and fill us as the autumnal nights draw in and the mood descends.

A walk among the leaves, eating seasonal root vegetables and bolstering your immune system would do you infinitely more good: as would ignoring the voices of the dissenters and ensuring you and yours get inoculated against the flu.


Dr Chauhan is a respected GP, health and social care campaigner, and champion of social justice and charity. As a local GP, he has become a powerful advocate for his patients and introduced innovative methods to improve their care. His work mentoring and employing young people has won national recognition.