Learn about common colds

All about COLDS

Most of us will catch a cold 2 to 4 times a year. But did you ever wonder what exactly a cold is? Simply, it’s a contagious viral infection that can be caused by more than 200 different viruses. It can be spread by the airborne droplets of coughs and sneezes. A person can be contagious from the day before the illness breaks out until 1 to 3 days after they feel better. And symptoms typically appear 2 to 3 days after infection.

Symptoms to look for:

  • blocked nose
  • runny nose
  • sore throat
  • sneezing
  • cough
  • tiredness
  • sometimes a mild fever

How to prevent

A cold is spread by inhaling the virus, or by touching infected objects, such as pens, keyboards and phones, and then touching your eyes or mouth. So preventing it begins with cleaning your hands regularly. And when you think about it, that’s a healthy habit to get into any time, as is staying fit to help your immune system fight off infection. You might also want to avoid crowded places where the risk of catching someone else’s cold may be higher.

How to relieve your blocked nose

When you’re suffering from a cold, you’ll do just about anything to get rid of it. If blowing your nose alone isn’t providing sufficient relief, you might consider trying nasal irrigation or using steam treatments and air humidifiers. Some people even take to eating really spicy foods to relieve congestion.

No matter what you decide to do, don’t forget to drink plenty of liquids to keep you hydrated and help flush out infection. Also, avoid antibiotics. Antibiotics work specifically against bacteria and not viruses and so won't affect your cold. Using them unnecessarily can lead to resistance with the result that they may not work when you do need antibiotics to treat an infection. Thankfully Otrivine® nasal sprays can help unblock your nose and make life more bearable.

What we would suggest

www.treatyourselfbetter.co.uk is a new website which provides useful information and advice on how you can self-treat cold and flu symptoms without the need to visit the GP.

For even more information about colds, visit our Cold FAQs.