Immune Defence Study

About the Project

A range of viruses circulate each winter and cause respiratory infections (RTIs) (the viruses that causes colds, sore throats, sinus, chest or ear infections, flu). These can lead to people being off work, to seeking help from the NHS, and to be admitted to hospital in winter months. There is promising evidence that using nasal sprays, or alternatively reducing stress and increasing exercise, could help people’s immune defences, reduce the number of people getting infections, reduce how severe illnesses are and how long they last. We have developed a website called Immune Defence which will help us to see if using nasal sprays or getting more physically active and reducing stress can help people get fewer and less severe infections.  This study will involve approximately 200 GP practices and up to 15000 patients who are at risk from respiratory infections.

Who will be able to take part?

Patients will be invited to take part in the study through invitation letters from their GP surgery. Those who are interested in taking part will be asked to register online and to answer some questions to ensure the study is right for them. Eligible patients will be randomised to one of the following groups for 12 months: i) A microgel nasal spray (Vicks First Defence) ii) Saline nasal spray, iii) Getting Active and Reducing Stress or iv) Usual Care. Participants will be asked to complete monthly questionnaires for 12 months, and more detailed questionnaires at 3, 6 and 12 months about any infections and about their general health. Patients happy to do so will complete a daily diary of symptoms if they do become unwell to give a more detailed understanding of the course of each illness. A sample of patients and healthcare practitioners will be asked to take part in a telephone interview about their experiences of taking part in the trial.