The truth about the common cold

Think you know everything there is to know about the common cold?

08 July 2014
by Cindy Tilney

Think again. Here are some facts about colds:

  1. Kissing is one of the less likely ways to pass on a cold. Much riskier is being caught in the line of fire when an infected person sneezes or coughs, as mucus particles ejected in this manner carry more viral nasties than regular saliva. Touching your eyes with contaminated fingers is also risky business, as it enables germs to travel directly through the tear ducts to the nose.
  2. Rhinoviruses – the primary cold-causing culprits – are tiny. You could line up approximately 50 000 of them across one millimetre.
  3. Colds don’t make us feel ill – it’s our own immune response kicking in and flooding the virus-infected area with white blood cells that causes symptoms such as a headache and blocked nose.
  4. Many viral infections cause no symptoms at all – although they may replicate extensively, the lion’s share pass without triggering a symptomatic immune response, and therefore without notice.
  5. Zinc actively builds and repairs DNA, making it an excellent immune booster and treatment for colds.
  6. Stress can cause a cold. A study in which cold viruses where injected into the noses of subjects revealed that those people who were experiencing stress were more susceptible to infection taking hold than their non-stressed counterparts.
  7. Cold temperatures may cause colds after all. For many years, healthcare professionals have surmised that the major link between a surge in colds and flu in the winter months was purely a result of people spending more time together in badly ventilated spaces where viruses can spread more easily. But a study by the UK’s common cold centre found that there might be more to the theory. Of a cross section of subjects surveyed, 29 percent of those who sat with their feet in cold water for 20 minutes developed colds over the next five days, compared to only nine percent of those who didn’t follow the cold-water exercise. The leader of the study, Ron Eccles, believes that this may be because exposure to cold causes the blood vessels in the nose to restrict, causing a reduction in the flow of germ-fighting white blood cells and allowing infections to take hold more easily.
  8. Empathy is a powerful healing mechanism: One study revealed that people with colds who felt their doctor had been truly empathetic during a consultation healed a full day quicker than those who did not.

Your cold-fighting kit

Clicks pharmacist Michelle Kawalsky recommends the following essentials to keep colds at bay and help you to heal if you fall prey to a cold or flu virus:

  • Corenza C – for symptomatic treatment (contains an anti-histamine and decongestant)
  • Vitamin C and zinc – to speed up healing
  • Echinaforce and Viralguard – to boost the immune system
  • Strepsils – to help relieve the discomfort of sore throats

How Clicks can help you during the flu season

Book an appointment for a flu vaccination at a Clicks Clinic by calling 0860 254 257 or visiting Clicks Clinics online. The good news is that most medical aids now cover the flu vaccination and sometimes even reward members. 

To help you ward off colds and the flu, or recover from them, Clicks pharmacists have selected the most trustworthy and affordable products for you to purchase online at Clicks.co.za. These include a wide range of vitamins and supplements and cough, cold and flu remedies.

IMAGE CREDIT: 123rf.com

 

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