The days are getting longer and the mercury is slowly beginning to creep up, but cold season is still in full swing. The average adult will catch two to five colds a year and children will suffer through seven to ten episodes of sniffles and sneezing. We often think we know everything there is to know about getting rid of cold symptoms.Washing your hands often with soap and water, and not touching your eyes, nose or mouth are certainly good ways to avoid cold germs, but there’s more! This health capsule proposes five interesting facts about the common cold to help you avoid catching the bug.
1. Cold weather doesn’t necessarily cause colds How often have your parents or grandparents told you to dress warmly to avoid catching your death of cold? They weren’t entirely wrong, but they weren’t entirely right either. Hats, mittens, scarves and warm winter clothing are essential to staying warm and protecting you from certain infections, but all that protection won’t keep you from catching a cold. And why is that? The reason is because the common cold is caused by a virus, and just like any other virus, you can catch it, bundled up or not! 2. A word about vitamin C It is commonly thought that filling up on Vitamin C can help stop a cold in its tracks. A recent study conducted by Dr. Michael Allan at the University of Alberta demonstrated that Vitamin C reduces the risk of catching cold by only 3%.2 Nor is there any correlation between the effects of Vitamin C and reduced cold symptoms. Some experts go so far as to say that zinc supplements have better results, although little proof of that is available at the moment. The best thing to do is talk to your doctor. 3. Honey for the throat, yes, but… Taking a spoon of honey before bedtime to ease a sore throat is another common practice. And, in fact, it appears that honey is an excellent way to control a cough, especially with young children.3 In addition to containing natural sugars that are healthier than the sugar in drugstore cough syrups, honey has natural antiseptic and antibiotic properties and can even alleviate fatigue.3 4. Cold germs can survive up to two days outside the body Different germs and viruses cause colds. Rhinovirus however is the culprit responsible for the vast majority of seasonal colds, as much as 30 to 50% of all colds.4 Rhinovirus can generally live about three hours on your skin or any other surface and may even survive up to 48 hours in some cases. Be extra careful by cleaning those surfaces most likely to harbour bacteria, which can significantly reduce the risk of contagion: door handles, elevator buttons, kitchen counters, computer keyboards and especially smartphone screens. 5. Six feet from catching a cold It’s common knowledge that when you cough, tiny droplets of saliva are released into the air and can travel up to six feet. Although invisible as they travel through the air, it’s possible to see them when a person sneezes. A study conducted in 2012 by the National Medical Research Council (NMRC) in Singapore determined the longest visible distance a sneeze can travel is 0.6 metres, or a little over a foot.5 If the particles remain visible over this distance, it’s easy to believe that they can travel considerably farther without being detected. So what does all this mean? Stay healthy by keeping at least six feet away from someone with a cold.
This information has been provided by our SSQ Benefit Provider – via their Heatlh in Sight Newsletter