Dame Joan Collins wears gloves to stop herself getting the flu.

The 84-year-old actress contracted the B-strain of the flu virus last December, and after being left bedridden by the illness Joan took it on herself to constantly wear gloves to reduce her germ intake.

Writing in The Spectator magazine about her experience with flu, Joan said: ''The show must go on, so I staggered on to the stage, the words of my ex about the roar of the grease-paint ringing in my ears, and managed to get through it, in spite of several coughing fits. Back in London I took to my bed like a Victorian lady with a case of the swoons - legs shaky as spaghetti, ribs aching from a hacking cough. Bed-bound for a fortnight, I missed several amusing Christmas parties and almost felt that the end was near. (I'm an actress - you have to expect some drama). Now I wear gloves whenever possible to protect myself against virulent germs - it may appear eccentric but just wait till I put on that surgical mask.

''I avoid shaking hands, much less this ghastly fad of kissing and hugging strangers as if they're pals. Dining at a popular restaurant, the maitre d' was shaking hands with the patrons and when he came over to me, all Uriah Heep-like, proffering his appendage - his hand I mean - I refused to shake it as I imagined it covered in germs. He was quite offended but my doctor told me that lightning can strike twice.''

Recently, the former 'Dynasty' star admitted one of the best pieces of advice she was ever given was to find a look that suited her and not worry about changing fads so even now she's still happy to embrace a bold lip colour.

She said: ''An actress friend of mine gave me some advice years ago.

''She said, 'You don't have to follow trends or fads. Find something that suits you in your 30s and stay with it.' So my make-up hasn't changed that much. I still wear bright lipstick and I have a great collection of them.''