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Live webchat with Dr Dawn Harper this Friday, 4 Sept, at 1pm

(79 Posts)
GeraldineMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 02-Sep-09 11:46:28

Hello, we're kicking off our post-hols webchats by welcoming Dr Dawn Harper this Friday at 1pm.

Dawn's a part-time GP in Gloucestershire and you may well have seen, read or heard her giving medical advice because she's a regular on lots of programmes and in the press.

She's married to another GP, they have three children and in her spare time (she has any?), she's a backing vocalist for a Motown/70s dance band.

She's joining us for a timely chat, sponsored by Kleenex Anti-Viral Tissues, about how to avoid catching colds and flu, and how to prevent them taking out whole families if one of you gets a horrid lurgy.

Because of tight timing, Dawn won't be able to answer advance questions, but we're checking if she can answer any that she doesn't get to during the webchat afterwards.

Hope you can join us.


carriemumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 04-Sep-09 13:16:34

My dsister is due to give birth to much longed for twins in Oct and has been - understandably - very worried about swine flu during pregnancy and now swine flu once they're born. I remember being obsessed with my precious first born about visitors washing their hands before they touched her (London suddenly seemed so dirty!), but given that they're due in what might be the middle of a flu pandemic are there any other precautions she /her visitors should take to protect the babes (and her) from infection? For example can the virus live on clothes? Just thinking how we always pick up newborns and clutch them to our chests (clucky? moi?)- should we be disinfected/ change first if we've just come off the tube?

Also any particular advice about keeping colds and flu (and swine flu) at bay during last few weeks of pregnancy - should she be avoiding my snotty school-age children?


DrDawnHarper Fri 04-Sep-09 13:16:36

Hi Plus3 - I hope not! This webchat is sponsored by Kleenex but I am not here to promote any products and would much rather answer any queries any of you may have related to coughs and colds

RubberDuck Fri 04-Sep-09 13:18:34

Recent research has brought up lack of vit D playing a part in avoiding a cold/flu. From memory though, there's not many foods that contain vit D naturally (eggs and dairy?) - given that our lack of sun in this country is legendary wouldn't it be worth supplementing for those children who can't or won't eat a great deal of dairy products?

DrDawnHarper Fri 04-Sep-09 13:19:24

Hi carriemumsnet - being a mum is always fraught with worry and being a new mum even more so. If your sister is planning to breastfeed her tiwns they will benefit from some of her antibodies which will help them in their early days. As for contact with health professionals - it should be routine practice for them to wash their hands before touching her babies. Your children will no doubt want to cuddle their new cousins but if they are full of cold delaying this is probably a good idea

WreckOfTheHesperus Fri 04-Sep-09 13:20:17

Hi Dr Dawn,

I was always told that you should keep your mouth closed outside on a cold day, if you have a sore throat, as the cold makes it worse.

It this true? And does getting cold really make a cold worse?
Thanks smile

RubberDuck Fri 04-Sep-09 13:20:23

Also, will you and/or your children be having the swine flu vaccine this winter.

DrDawnHarper Fri 04-Sep-09 13:21:07

Hi rubber duck - we certainly haven't had much sun this summer but in fact you need surprisingly little sun exposure to ensure enough vitamin D - even just 15-30 minutes a day should do the trick and whilst it may look cloudy out there the rays do get through

theseboobsaremadeformilking Fri 04-Sep-09 13:21:12

Is it ok to go swimming with a 15 month old who has a cold. My swim teacher said it was fine.

carriemumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 04-Sep-09 13:21:30

I meant more the steady stream of visitors fresh from the tube rather than hospital staff who I'd hope would be relatively sterile. Anything other than hand washing?

RumourOfAHurricane Fri 04-Sep-09 13:21:36

Message withdrawn

AddictedtoHeatmagazine Fri 04-Sep-09 13:22:27

Does going out with wet hair make you more susceptible to catching a cold?

DrDawnHarper Fri 04-Sep-09 13:23:49

Hello wreckofthehesperus - that's a new one on me! But there was some research from Cardiff a couple of years back that supports the old wives tale that you should wrap up warm if you go out in the cold to protect yourself from getting a cold. They found that people wit hcold extremeties were more likely to succomb to viruses and the theory is that if you are cold there is less blood supply to your nose and therefore fewer of the immune cells get to the nose which is where most bugs enter

DrDawnHarper Fri 04-Sep-09 13:24:55

Hello addicted to heat magazine - take a look at my answer to wrechofthehesperus - it could be possible that cold hair will make you more likely to catch a cold

belgo Fri 04-Sep-09 13:25:32

shineoncrazydiamond - In my experience I agree with that - I have seen many health care workers replace good hand washing techniques with a splash of alco gel, and I cannot believe that to be as effective as good hand washing.

I also dislike alco gels because they dry out my skin and give me a rash. I would much rather wash my hands properly with soap and water.

DrDawnHarper Fri 04-Sep-09 13:26:15

Hello shineoncrazydiamond - Good old fashioned soap and water is perfectly effective and that's what we use at home but the gels do have a useful place when you are out and about

theseboobsaremadeformilking Fri 04-Sep-09 13:26:28

Is it ok to go swimming with a 15 month old who has a cold. My swim teacher said it was fine

DrDawnHarper Fri 04-Sep-09 13:28:52

Hello theseboobsaremadeformilking - to be honest he is unlikely to come to any harm but if he has a cold he probably doesn't feel his best and you are potentially just exposing others to his bugs. I would probably put it off this week and think of something else to do until he is back on form

RumourOfAHurricane Fri 04-Sep-09 13:29:31

Message withdrawn

WreckOfTheHesperus Fri 04-Sep-09 13:30:34

Thanks you. Also, my DD came home with umpteen colds from nursery last year, which she duly passed on to me and DP; is there anything preventative at all that we can do to reduce the number of colds that she catches?

And will all these colds have the effect of building up her immune system or weakening it?

StripeySuit Fri 04-Sep-09 13:32:30

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

DrDawnHarper Fri 04-Sep-09 13:32:58

Hi wreck of the hesperus - British adults can expect to get on average 2 or 3 colds a year whilst kids are more likely to get between 4 and 8 because their immune systems are not as well developed and there is an arguement that exposing them to bugs will help build their immune system but as there are over 200 viruses that cause coughs and colds (some of which change too) it is impossible to be immune to all of them. A good balanced diet, regular exercise and a good night's sleep all help boost the immune system

StripeySuit Fri 04-Sep-09 13:33:46

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

CMOTdibbler Fri 04-Sep-09 13:33:57

If my DS gets a cold, it always ends up as a chest infection. Is there anything we can do to stave this off this winter ?

AddictedtoHeatmagazine Fri 04-Sep-09 13:35:02

Thank you - so my mum was right - bah!

DrDawnHarper Fri 04-Sep-09 13:35:59

Hi Stripey Suit - I'm not sure what you mean - are yousaying that if you have a cold and go and about getting your supplies etc that you are potentially spreading your bugs around which is true but of course we have to be practical. In an ideal world, if you are poorly with a cough or cold, it is best to keep any innecssary travel to a minimum but I fully understand that life has to go on and if you have to go out then paying attention to the "Catchit, Bin it, Kill it" guidelines will help minimise spread

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