How to keep coughs and colds away

How do these infections spread?

Viruses are mainly transmitted through droplets of moisture in your breath, and through sneezing and coughing. Bugs that cause coughs and colds can also be passed on through contact with your hands. This is why good hygiene can limit the risk of picking up infections.

Airborne bugs and viruses

Viruses are found in large quantities in saliva. Whenever someone sneezes or coughs, a million little virus particles are released into the air. If you come into close contact with this, you’ll almost certainly catch a virus and get ill.

The particles floating around in the air take the form of droplets suspended in the atmosphere, which can linger for hours in stuffy rooms that aren’t aired enough.

Viruses can also spread through contact with the hands, when you hold or shake someone’s hand for example. You can catch flu bugs after coming into contact with, touch surfaces like door handles, phones and buttons in lifts. The spread of germs is unavoidable, but there are other ways to avoid catching bugs without refusing to leave the house! Read on for some of the precautions you can take to avoid being struck down with the flu.

Preventing coughs and colds

Here are our tips on protecting yourself against coughs and colds, and how you can avoid spreading germs when you’re ill. To avoid catching a cold: • Wash your hands regularly (using soap and water for 30 seconds). Washing hands should be automatic after blowing your nose, sneezing or coming into contact with someone who’s ill. • Use tissues when you sneeze or splutter and put them in the bin straight away. Bins with lids are best for containing germs and remember to wash those hands! • Boost your natural defences by drinking probiotic yoghurt drinks to get good bacteria into your gut. To avoid spreading germs: • Each time you cough or sneeze, cover your mouth and nose then wash your hands. • If you splutter, or need to spit, use a tissue and throw it away immediately and wash your hands.


Flu rears its ugly head every winter, but do you need to be vaccinated against it? In the US, the flu jab is currently offered to at risk groups including those over 65 and people with the following conditions: • Cystic fibrosis • Respiratory diseases such as asthma • Chronic obstructive bronchopneumonia • Diabetes • Chronic heart disease or serious cardiac or vascular problems • Stroke • Serious neurological or muscular disorders • Epilepsy • Primary immunodeficiency requiring long term treatment • HIV • Chronic kidney disease and other renal disorders • Genetic defects affecting haemoglobin in the blood • Hemolysis and hemolytic anaemia

The viruses that cause flu change every year and vaccines are developed accordingly. In the US, millions of people are vaccinated and around three quarters of elderly people get the flu jab every year according to the Department of Health (

Overall, the same hygiene rules apply for both viral and bacterial infections. You can catch bacterial infections on top of viruses, which will make the symptoms much worse. This is why it’s so important to act on colds and flu from the first symptoms, and stop germs spreading.

Article by Luc Blanchot (Culled from Yahoo! Lifestyle – Health)

Contributed by: OBIE