Monday, 13th July 2020

This Month's Magazine


The common cold is an illness caused by a virus, most often the rhinovirus. - Extract from BUPA Health advice provided by Sonia Fendley, director of STM Nummos Life

Viruses are tiny parasites that depend on cells from plants and animals to stay alive and reproduce. This means that when a virus enters your body, it invades and takes over your cells, and directs them to produce more viruses. The result is a stuffy and snotty nose, sore throat, cough and sneezing.

Your immune system is designed to detect and destroy harmful cells that invade your body and it reacts by flooding the area with white blood cells and chemical messengers. These defender cells can kill harmful cells with three impressive battle tactics: ◊ Some swallow up the harmful cells and kill them ◊ Some make antibodies that stick to the cells to identify the pones to attack ◊ Some destroy the harmful cells directly. Yet while your immune system is helping you out, the downside is that the white blood cells trigger the symptoms that cause you to feel poorly. For example your nose feels blocked because white blood cells have rushed to the blood vessels in your nose and caused them to swell, making it harder to breathe. Snot is also the result of the white blood cells doing battle in your nose to get rid of the virus.

The white blood cells, your immune system is works hard to kill off the virus but it makes you feel rotten and gross in the process. The symptoms can last for a number of days. Once your immune system has found a virus, it can react in time to stop you catching the same illness again. This is called developing immunity unfortunately colds are caused by lots of different types of virus which also mutate very fast withnew strains appearing all the time.


So is there a way to outsmart them?
It’s impossible to guarantee you won’t catch a cold. Most adults will probably get about two colds a year. But there are definitely things you can do to minimise the chances.

Here are three main tips for staying well and warm this winter.

  • Wash your hands regularly with soap and hot water.
  • Keep your immune system strong by eating well, and making sure you get enough sleep and exercise.
  • If you do catch a cold, drink plenty of water, gargle with salt water to help a sore throat, and try nasal drops or sprays to clear up congestion. Take paracetamol,
    ibuprofen or aspirin to relieve pain.

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