Summer cold: Are you more likely to catch a cold when travelling on a plane? Expert advice

Coronavirus and cold symptoms outlined by Dr Amir

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According to one widely reported study, your risk of catching a cold can increase by as much as 20 percent when travelling by plane and may be 113 times more likely to be transmitted on a plane than during normal daily life on the ground. But GP and Olbas expert Dr Roger Henderson said: “It probably makes relatively little difference if you’re on the ground in fresh air or breathing recirculated air on a plane – the key thing is that if a cold virus is present near you, you’re at risk of being infected with it.”

He continued: “Droplets in the air – caused by someone with a cold sneezing or coughing – is a common way to catch a cold as well as touching something that someone with a cold has touched (such as a cup or tray).”

“If you touch something with a cold virus on it and then touch your face, you’re at risk of catching a cold. However, on a flight you’re probably not going to catch a cold if you’re two rows or more away from someone with a cold because you’re unlikely to interact closely enough with them to catch it.”

Risk factors for catching a summer cold include spending lots of time around children – who don’t wash their hands as much as adults and who can easily spread germs through kissing – and in enclosed public places or in close contact with other people with colds, said Dr Henderson.

Your risk is increased if you don’t wash your hands regularly, are very young or very old, or have a weakened immune system because of illness, some medications, not getting enough sleep or having a very unhealthy lifestyle.

There are more than 200 different cold viruses and it’s likely that most of us will catch at least one or two colds every year.

Dr Henderson advised: “A dry, scratchy sore throat is often the first sign followed by a runny nose, fatigue and loss of appetite.

“This is different from flu symptoms that are more severe, start suddenly and include a high fever, extreme fatigue and significant muscle aches and pains.”

So what can you do to prevent a summer cold?

There are many ways to help get your body’s immune system into the best possible shape this summer and help prevent a cold from ruining your enjoyment of the season, according to Dr Henderson.

These include:

  • Eating at least five portions of fresh fruit and vegetables each day. Packed with antioxidants, these are great at boosting the body’s defences. Green tea is also a great source of these too.
  • Garlic and onion are both well-known for their antiviral, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties (and if you don’t like the taste of garlic it can now be obtained in supplement form)
  • The cold virus is mainly spread by touch, being carried on the hands and entering the body through the mouth, nose or eyes. Wash your hands regularly to help prevent spread of the virus and try not to touch your face with your hands.
  • Keep exercising! Researchers have found that cold symptoms lasted for half the time in people who walk for 45 minutes a day, five days a week, than in sedentary people.
  • Stay well hydrated. Drinking lots of fluid each day (aim for at least 1.5 litres) keeps you from becoming dehydrated and can reduce symptoms of tiredness and headaches.

Olbas products offer decongestant relief for blocked noses and congestion.

Another example of a product that can help with cold symptoms is ColdZyme.

If you do develop cold symptoms, early action is better, according to ColdZyme experts.

While many people focus on products and methods that help alleviate their symptoms once they’re suffering with a cold or virus, few focus their efforts on shortening the duration by acting when first symptoms appear.

Some studies have found taking vitamin C before cold symptoms start may shorten the length of time you have symptoms.

A recent survey conducted by Enzymatica, manufacturers of Coldzyme, has revealed a scratchy/itchy throat is the most common symptom people notice as an initial sign of catching a cold followed by sneezing, a headache, muscular pain and sore eyes.

Coldzyme works by capturing the virus where it first starts to multiply.

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