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Colds and the flu jab

Over the last 13 weeks I have had 5 colds. I don’t think it has been flu, but each time I am finding it more difficult to breath. Would a flu jab help or is it too late? I have no other health/breathing issues.

28 April 2021

Thank you for your question, we can see that you have been having a difficult time. Unfortunately the flu vaccine is not given to anyone suffering from respiratory symptoms due to the risk of worsening any existing upper respiratory condition, so is unlikely to be helpful to you at this point.

However five colds in thirteen weeks does seem excessive to cope with. It's possible that you in fact have been dealing with the adenovirus. It is known for being more persistent than the common cold and in common with other similar respiratory viruses, has the potential to appear to go and then to return, causing the same symptoms to arise again.

The only treatment for this is to rest where possible and use over the counter medication to treat the worst of the symptoms. It's also important to make sure you're getting a good balance of vitamins, particularly A, C and E in your diet, to support your immune system.

In your case it's also possible that you have gone on to contract a secondary infection to the virus - this is known to occur in some people - and in these cases usually a short course of antibiotics is needed to get back to full health.

Under the circumstances, given the length of time this has been recurring it would be helpful for you to have a chat with your GP. They will be able to take a full history, examine you and they might also take a blood test to check your inflammatory markers and white cell count, for example, as these can help identify if an infection is present. This will also guide any treatment they prescribe.

If an infection is not thought to be present and you continue to experience these symptoms, you may like to think about asking for a referral to a specialist to ensure your immunity and respiratory systems don't have any underlying condition that may be contributing to your inability to get better.

Although this is unlikely it's worth bearing in mind. First of all a chat with your GP seems wise and may yield some treatment to help and with rest and care you should then be on the road back to full health as quickly as possible.

We do hope this will be of use, and best of luck in getting this resolved.

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