Did you know that the most common cause of the cold is the rhinovirus?
- The rhinovirus (unlike its name) is very small. It is 1000 times smaller than a human cell.
- 1350 billion rhinoviruses can sit on a 1 pound or 1 euro coin.
- A cold virus is not alive. It comes to life by occupying another host.
- A cold virus survives best in cold, dry weather.
- You can’t catch a cold virus by kissing but you can by shaking hands!
- Viruses love eyes and noses.The yellow mucus sometimes produced from your nose during a cold is actually white blood cells.
- Cold viruses don’t make us feel ill. Our immune system response makes us feel unwell.
- The velocity of a sneeze is the same as a professional baseball pitcher, 150 km per hour. That’s fast!
- More children than adults catch colds ( not surprising when you see what children do when they sneeze!)
- Your race, gender, education and shape of your body does not make a difference whether you are more likely to catch a cold or not.
So what does make a difference?
- Hygiene (washing hands). It is difficult to avoid colds at this time of year but washing your hands with soap/hand sanitiser after shaking hands or after a couple of hours working and definitely before eating, helps to reduce the risk. We touch our faces, eyes and noses a lot during the day so it makes sense to keep our hands clean. It also helps to stop the spreading of the virus too.
- Your outlook. Happy and calm people are less stressed and less likely to catch colds. This is because their immune system is functioning as it should, attacking any germs that come their way not dealing with stress.
- Exercise. Consistent exercise gives your immune system a boost and lowers stress hormones.
- Diet. As with everything in life, eating lots of fruits and vegetables and moderate amounts of fats and protein help keep our bodies healthy so we can fight viruses better. There is no evidence to suggest that Vitamin C helps in fighting colds but Vitamin D can.
- Keep warm. As your granny used to say ‘Wrap up warm, bugs don’t swarm’ (well, mine did!) New research has shown there may be some truth in this. Viruses multiply in the cells that line the nose as they breed faster when the cells are cool. So wrap that scarf around your nose too!
- Sleep. Wether you need 5 hours or eight hours sleep a night, make sure you get it. Sleep helps keep our immune system functioning properly and our army of antibodies are ready for the fight when the viruses appear.