All of us will have had one, many of us will have one will be nursing one right now – but did you know the common cold harbours five surprising facts? NHS England says…
1) You can catch a cold through your eyes.
When an infected person coughs or sneezes, they release tiny droplets into the air. If these droplets get on to your hands, you can pass them into your eyes by touching them.
Now for the science bit – the virus can travel to the nose and throat through a duct that links the eyes and nasal cavity, where it then starts the process of causing an infection. The best way to avoid letting the virus get into your system is good hygiene.
Wash your hands regularly, especially after touching potentially infected areas.
2) The germs that cause a common cold can live for up to two days outside of the body.
Think of all of the places where viruses could be hanging out…doorknobs, computer keyboards, smartphones, tablets, draw handles, bottles and jars.
You may be living with someone who has recovered from a cold, but the virus may still be present in your home.
Make a cleaning cloth and disinfectant your weapons of choice. Regular wiping down of surfaces might prevent you from being the next victim of a winter bug.
3) Taking Vitamin C does not keep colds at bay.
There are plenty of good reasons to eat vitamin C packed foods like oranges and broccoli. However, there is currently little evidence to suggest that ingesting this vitamin reduces your chances of getting a cold.
Of course, eating healthily, and that includes eating lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, does contribute to a strong immune system and that will help you to fight off a cold.
4) There are around 200 types of virus that cause common colds.
With this many common cold viruses out there, it’s highly unlikely that doctors and scientists will find a cure for the common cold any time soon.
Even if a vaccine or remedy is developed, it’s unlikely to be used widely, as the various strains of the virus would then evolve to resist treatments.
5) Over the centuries and around the world, lizard soup, blood-letting, leeches, turnips, plum pickle and the familiar chicken soup have all been used to treat colds.
However, Dr Ken Deacon, Medical Director, NHS England (North Midlands) advises that you stick to over the counter medications readily available at the pharmacy.
- He said: ‘’If you are struck down with a bug this winter, take the following advice and you should start to see your symptoms go away in 7-10 days:
- Your first point of call should be your local pharmacist. Use the medicines they provide, such as painkillers, decongestants and cold medicines to self-treat at home. They will also be able to advise you which medications are suitable for children.
- Try not to spread the bug to your friend and relatives. Be especially careful about mixing with children and the elderly who can be hit badly by a cold.
- Stay at home and get plenty of rest.
- Drink plenty of fluids.
- Eat healthily – a low-fat, high-fibre diet is recommended, including plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables.’’