Cold and flu season tips

Layers of the skin

It’s that time of the year again, when days get shorter, nights longer, and temperatures colder. That means winter is here, and ahead are several weeks of warming up with steaming bowls of soup, snoozing in a cosy bed, and adding extra layers to our outfits.

Unfortunately, with the colder days also comes the increased risk of catching the common cold or seasonal flu. 

How the virus spreads

There are various viruses that cause the viral infections that lead to colds and flu. In fact, there are as many as 200! However, rhinoviruses are most often to blame. 

‘Rhin’ means nose, making the name rhinovirus an appropriate name as it spreads through respiratory droplets. This means that when an infected person coughs or sneezes, a healthy person can catch the cold by inhaling these droplets. 

Another path to infection is touching a contaminated surface, then touching one’s eyes, mouth or nose. This is because viruses can live on certain surfaces for up to 2 days. An additional way to get infected is through personal contact, such as hugging an infected person or shaking their hands.

Normally within 1 – 3 days after exposure, signs and symptoms will appear. After infection, a person might show signs of a runny nose, sore throat, a headache, coughing and muscle aches and pains. Rhinovirus infections are usually mild, but under certain circumstances develop into pneumonia or bronchiolitis.

What to do this winter

The good news is that you can take precautionary steps to protect yourself from contracting these illnesses:

  1. Get vaccinated every year: As one of the most effective ways of fighting seasonal flu, the vaccine uses inactivated viruses to prompt your immune system to produce antibodies.

  2. Practice social distancing: Avoid crowded public places as much as possible, as well as close contact with anyone with a cold. If you are ill, don’t put your fellow students or colleagues at risk by going to school or the office; rather stay home to recover. 

  3. Sharing isn’t always caring: Don’t share cutlery, glasses, telephones, towels, clothes, etc. with others, even family members – especially if they are showing symptoms.

Protection is in your hands

One of the most important daily hygiene practices to prevent the spread of cold and flu viruses is to regularly wash your hands with soap that has antibacterial properties. Often people contract these illnesses by touching an infected surface, then touching their face. If you have clean hands, this will protect you from cold-causing viruses.

By using an antibacterial hand soap, also known as an anti-germ soap, you can reduce the chances of bacterial infection. This is because antibacterial soap is the best soap to protect your hands, which can become carriers of these viruses without you realising it.

Protex antibacterial liquid soap is a liquid hand soap that protects against 99.9% of germs and helps reduce germ accumulation for long-lasting protection.

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