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ce="Verdana">Typically it presents with a sore throat and runny nose that can subsequently feel blocked. Sneezing and coughing and headache are also a common feature. The symptoms last about a week but often longer. It is possible to get further infection by another strain of rhino virus soon after thus the commonly used phrase ‘I’ve had it for weeks, Doc!’

Despite the misery caused by the common cold, the good news is that the body’s immune system is very good at getting rid of the virus and thus protecting you against infection by the same strain in the future. Just as well as currently no medication exists to fight the virus. Many people expect to get an antibiotic for their illness but this does NOT have any effect on the virus whatsoever and, can cause other unwanted problems.

The most important thing is to keep yourself comfortable by resting. Drink plenty of fluids and take paracetamol for sore throats, headaches and to keep down any fever. Allow time for your body’s immune system to get into action and fight the virus. This can be helped along by taking extra vitamin c and zinc preparations. Inhaling steam from a bowl of hot water with added Vicks, Olbas oil or Friars Balsam can help relieve a stuffy nose as well as Pseudoephedrine, a decongestant available from any chemist. The old tried and tested remedy ‘the hot toddy’ is still a favorite for many; this contains a shot of whisky mixed with honey and hot water. Try it if you dare!

Many people lose their appetite during a nasty bout of common cold. Don’t worry about withering away, your body has plenty of nutrition in reserve. However if you fancy it, try hot chicken soup; there is evidence that it can shorten the length of the infection.

Remember, if your symptoms are prolonged or severe or if anything else develops contact your Doctor.


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Deadline for next edition Saturday October 13th, for publishing on 17th October 2001.