Cold-busting tips to help stop the summer sniffles

Summer colds can bring misery to holidays and days out
Summer colds can bring misery to holidays and days out
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David Curwen, centre, hugs his mother with whom he wa sreunited. Completing the group is his brother Keith

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While most of us probably grudgingly accept colds as an inevitable winter nuisance, it can feel miserable and downright wrong to have to endure a dose of the sniffles, a sandpaper throat and often a temperature to boot during sunny days and on holidays.

Luckily, the chances of getting a cold is only four to one in summer compared to the winter.

But, ironically, the blazing sunshine we all crave can make us more prone to colds, according to GP Dr Mike Smith, who is interested in respiratory problems.

‘It’s worth being aware that the cold virus is always about no matter what the time of year and trying to help yourself avoid picking up the germs,’ he says.

‘Feeling hot and heady, perhaps with a temperature, when you’re already feeling warm and sweaty because of the weather, coupled with being bunged up because of catarrh and suffering the pain of a sore throat, can be very lowering.

‘In the winter at least you can get some comfort from wrapping up and having hot drinks. But if you’re suffering a cold during an annual break, or on fun day out, a time you associate with being healthy and full of beans, then the problem can feel even worse than it is.’

Follow these summer cold-busting strategy:

n The confined cabin of an aircraft provides an ideal environment for transmitting airborne diseases such as the common cold. Your greatest defence is to wash your hands several times throughout the journey in warm, soapy water. When that’s not an option, use a hand sanitiser.

n It may be useful to supplement any hay fever medication with a topical nasal decongestant spray to alleviate symptoms of nasal congestion if you have a cold.

n Medication for hay fever treatment, such as antihistamines and nasal steroids, should be continued during a common cold infection as there’s no evidence that they complicate recovery from infection.

n Make sure you have a well-stocked travel first aid kit including paracetamol for fever and a medicated throat spray such as Ultra Chloraseptic Anaesthetic Throat Spray, £5.21 a bottle containing more than 30 adult doses (100 sprays) available from pharmacies and supermarkets without prescription.

n Get plenty of rest, avoiding strenuous exercise while you have symptoms, and taking plenty of fluids so you stay hydrated.

n Zinc supplements can reduce the severity and duration of common cold symptoms. New research has revealed that taking high doses of zinc can cut the length of colds by almost half.

Try Nature’s Plus Immunactin Zinc Lozenges, £8.35; and BioCare Nutrisorb Zinc Plus Ascorbate, a food supplement, £8.40. Both available from nationwide Nutri Centre stores and health food stores. For more information visit