Top 6 Things To Know About Common Colds

Woman with a cold at work

The common cold, regardless of how familiar it might seem, can often prove a formidable foe and much more than an annoyance.

Along with cancelling fun stuff like social events, holidays and education—and the not-so-fun stuff like work, there’s also the high chances of spreading a cold to loved ones.

Since Complete Care Pharmacy is so well known for alleviating colds and helping the community get back to good health, we’ve called on our experts to help by listing:

Top 6 things to know about common colds

ONE: There are many types of common colds

There is not just one type of common cold. The term “common cold” refers to a large group of viral infections, with rhinoviruses being the most common.

Other viruses, such as coronaviruses and adenoviruses, can also cause cold symptoms.

Hint: There are many types of coronaviruses too, with COVID-19 of course being the most infamous. It’s caused by a specific type of coronavirus called SARS-CoV-2 (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2).

As a result, there are multiple types of viruses that can cause you to feel like you’ve got a common cold.

This also helps explain why symptoms differ. You might have a sore throat with one type, a dry cough with another and a runny nose with yet another, or combinations and different levels of severity too.

TWO: You don’t catch a cold from being cold and wet, but it certainly doesn’t help

It’s a common misconception that getting wet and cold in the rain can make you catch a cold. The rain and coldness you may feel can’t actually make you sick in terms of a cold.

It can, however, lower your body temperature which can negatively impact your immune system. That leaves you more vulnerable to catching a cold, especially if you’ve been exposed to viruses.

A 2022 study by the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology found that the nasal cavity is one of the initial contact points between the external environment and the human body; it is highly sensitive to changes in ambient temperature.

Woman standing in rain

THREE: Vitamin C does not prevent or cure the common cold

While vitamin C intake is part of maintaining and building a healthy immune system, taking large doses of it does not necessarily prevent or cure the common cold.

It can, however, reduce the duration or severity of symptoms for some people.

It’s important to note that excessive vitamin C intake beyond recommended levels does not provide additional benefits and may even cause side effects.

Some side effects of consistently taking too much vitamin C include:

  • Stomach aches
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Diarrhoea

The best bet is to use vitamin C supplements as just that, supplements to a balanced healthy diet (not instead of a healthy diet).

If you’re concerned about supplements or any other part of your health routine, get in touch with us, or simply come in.

FOUR: It’s usually airborne droplets that lead to catching a common cold

You catch a common cold by coming into contact with airborne droplets containing cold viruses, usually when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks.

These droplets can land directly on a person or on surfaces, so touching things contaminated with the virus and then touching your face, especially your nose, eyes or mouth, can lead to infection.

Close personal contact with an infected person, such as hugging or shaking hands, increases the risk of transmission too.

The viruses responsible for the common cold often enter your body through the eyes, nose or mouth.

FIVE: Cold germs on surfaces

Cold (and flu) viruses can survive on hard, smooth surfaces and infect people for 24 to 48 hours, and sometimes longer.

Some commonly touched surfaces that allow germs to survive on include:

  • Cabinet handles and benchtops
  • Doorknobs, door handles and taps
  • Light switches
  • Phones
  • TV remotes
  • Computer keyboard and mouse
  • Other frequently touched plastic, vinyl, ceramic and similar surfaces

On the other hand, porous surfaces are less likely to harbour germs, or at least for a shorter amount of time.

These include things such as cloth, paper and cardboard and wood that hasn’t been varnished.

As pointed out by the Australian Academy of Science, germs tend to disappear into a porous surface, rather than getting scooped up and attaching to skin from a smooth, hard surface.

SIX: The preventative approach makes a huge difference

While there’s no cure for the common cold, there are ways to help prevent them and significantly reduce their severity.

Vitamins and supplements that support immune health can often lessen the chances of catching a cold and reduce the severity.

Proper hygiene, such as handwashing and using hand sanitisers, significantly minimise the risk of viral transmission too.

Vaccinations against illnesses like influenza help reduce the spread of contagious viruses and help prevent common colds.

There are simple and affordable ways to ensure you and your family have high chances of reducing the risk of infection and limiting the severity of symptoms.

The first port of call for most common cold sufferers is a pharmacy, and rightly so

Easy access to over-the-counter medications that target cold symptoms, like decongestants, cough suppressants, and pain relievers are one reason.

Another is support. Well-trained pharmacists and nurse practitioners provide guidance on remedies and help you choose the most effective options based on your symptoms and medical history.

Complete Care Pharmacy carries a wide range of cold remedies and professional advice.

We also offer a range of easy to access, supportive consultations should you feel the need for extra support.

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