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Kicking Coughs and Colds into Touch

Including expert advice from Dr. Michael Dixon, a practising GP and chair of the NHS Alliance

You are likely to catch between two and four colds every year and your children as many as eight! When everyone around you is coughing and spluttering, it might seem impossible to avoid catching a cold, but there are a few simple things you can do to help you and your family fend off the germs.

What causes a cold?

When someone with a cold sneezes or coughs, millions of germs are launched into the air, which can then land on you or surrounding surfaces helping colds to spread very quickly. Germs can also be easily transferred by hands – so be careful who you’re shaking hands with!

There are as many as 200 different cold viruses capable of infecting the nose and throat in a human.

  • Cold virus can enter the body through the mouth, nose and eyes
  • Symptoms usually starting two to three days after infection
  • Colds cause the lining of nose and throat to become irritated and inflamed
  • Symptoms include blocked or runny nose, sore throat, sneezing, coughing, high temperature, tiredness and headaches

True or False?

Going out with wet hair or not wearning a coat will give you a cold.

FALSE! Despite their name, colds are actually caused by viruses not by changes in temperature.

Did you Know?

Around one in 20 colds develops into a secondary infection such as bronchitis or sinusitis.

Dr Michael Dixon’s tips for preventing and treating coughs and colds

  • Wash your hands regularly. Colds germs can easily be picked up from surfaces.
  • When you sneeze or cough, cover you mouth with a tissue, then throw it in the bin – this will help stop infection spreading.
  • Avoid smoky atmospheres. As well as exacerbating colds, smoke is a respiratory tract irritant that increases susceptibility to the viruses that cause respiratory infections.
  • Get plenty of rest. The human body is able to fight infections more efficiently when it’s resting, so take some time out from your daily life to recover.
  • Eat a balanced diet that includes plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables to boost your immunity and help stave off infection
  • Flush it out! It’s really important to stay hydrated so aim to drink at least 8 glasses of water a day. Herbal teas or highly diluted squash also contribute to your daily fluid intake.

Feed a cold

Some people lose their appetite if they’re suffering from a cold. If you’re one of them, try to eat little and often with five or six small meals throughout the day. Nutrient rich snacks include homemade soups (especially chicken soup) and smoothies.

Ditch the antibiotics

Dr Michael Dixon says: “People often visit their doctor with a cough or cold but there isn’t much we can do. In most cases antibiotics are of no use and the best advice is to get under the duvet, drink plenty of fluids and sweat it out.”

Kids and Colds

UK kids skip 16 million school days a year due to coughs and colds

Colds and coughs are easily passed from one child to the next in schools and nurseries. Children also tend to get a lot more colds than adults because their bodies haven’t had time to build up sufficient immunity – each time our bodies have a virus it builds up immunity against it.

When to see a doctor

GPs are often overstretched during winter months with many of their consultations taken up with minor ailments such as coughs and colds. In most cases it is not necessary to see your doctor for a cold or cough, instead it’s better to see your pharmacist who can advise you of the best treatment.

However, whilst most coughs and colds run their course without doing any harm, there are certain situations when you or your child should see a GP. These include:

  • If you or your child has a chronic condition such as asthma, diabetes or heart disease.
  • Mothers of young babies, older and frailer people should seek help if they are unwell.
  • All babies under three months with a temperature of over 38 degrees should be assessed by a doctor, as should babies aged three to six months with a fever higher than 39 degrees.
  • If your child has a headache or abdominal pain.
  • If your child is vomiting but does not have diarrhoea, or has a rash in association with the fever.
  • If a child isn’t playing, eating or drinking normally, and appears floppy or lethargic.
  • If your child’s fever doesn’t respond to paracetamol or ibuprofen.

Did you Know?

Children whose parents smoke are more likely to suffer from coughs and colds.

EchinaCold that cold!

EchinaCold® is a newly registered traditional herbal medicinal product used for the relief of symptoms of the common cold and influenza type infections, exclusively based upon long-standing use as a traditional remedy.

Taking two to three tablets of EchinaCold® up to three times daily will help adults and children 12 years + to relieve symptoms of cold and flu type infections. For best results EchinaCold® should be taken at the first sign of infection. EchinaCold should not be taken for more than 10 days. If symptoms worsen during the use of the product or persist for more than 10 days, a physician or a qualified healthcare practitioner should be consulted.

Why choose this herbal medicine?

When an herbal product is registered under the Traditional Herbal Registration Scheme, it means it has undergone an approval assessment process by the Government’s regulatory body – the MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency). Registration under this scheme means that:

  • Herbal products are regulated and meet specific standards of safety and quality based on traditional usage
  • Products are of pharmaceutical quality and are manufactured to European Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) Guidelines
  • All herbal medicines registered under this scheme have a nine digit registration number on their packaging starting with the letters THR

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