Doh! It had to happen sooner or later, I have picked up a cold virus. The all-to-common common cold! Apparently adults will succomb to the viruses between 2 and 5 times a year whilst children will catch a cold between 7 and 10 times in the same period. The website of the Common Cold Centre Research Unit, Cardiff University has some interesting information about the common cold:
The common cold viruses are not spread by contact such as kissing but appear to be spread by large particles expelled at close range by coughs and sneezes, and by contaminated fingers that pass the virus to the nose and eye.
Your fingers can easily become contaminated with viruses by touching door handles etc. in public places. You may then touch your nose or eye and infect yourself. Tears from the eye drain via a duct into the nasal cavity and when we touch our eyes with contaminated fingers we pass viruses into the nose.3
How to avoid catching a cold
Become a hermit. If you are in contact with other people you are likely to get a cold as the viruses are so common.
Hand washing may help
Since cold viruses can be passed from person to person by hand contact or by touching contaminated surfaces such as door handles you can help prevent infection by washing your hands. Home studies have shown that hand washing can reduce the spread of common colds within the family4
When am I most infectious?
The incubation period for a common cold is usually around two days before symptoms start. You are most infective when you have the early symptoms of sneezing, runny nose and cough. The viruses replicate in the cells lining the nose and they are coughed or sneezed out in droplets of mucus.
We can also spread the virus on our fingers when we contaminate them with secretions from the nose. In order for you to spread the infection you need to have close and prolonged contact with other people and to cough or sneeze on them or pass on secretions from your nose via your hands.
So, we won’t avoid all the cold viruses going around but we can help ourselves and others by washing our hands and not touching our faces! I’m still bemused knowing that many of the uncomfortable symptoms we suffer with a cold are not actually caused by the pesky virus but by our own immune system! See http://www.commoncold.org/understand.htm for a description of what happens when a virus settles down in the back of our throats.
Despite my sufferings (I mean really, am I milking it or what?) I did enjoy a walk yesterday. After a visit to Viv at Purple Stitches (sale now on!), I stepped out for home via the shopping centre and John Lewis’. There I bought the most expensive scratch card ever! I have been using my laptop to blog but until now have not had any word processing software. I have recently installed EQ7 on the laptop with a plan to transfer my designs from there into written patterns; the time had come to invest in Word (the wordprocessing system with which I am familiar). In the shop I searched out the software section selected a card from the rack and took it to the sales counter. Having paid I expected the sales assistant to reach into a cupboard and produce a box with a disc or at least a memory stick for me to take home. Nope! He just handed me the card, politely asking if I’d like a bag! It was only then I realised the card had a silvery scratch strip on the back! Not being used to 3 figure spending I was a bit disappointed to be walking home with just a piece of cardboard! Thankfully later in the day teenage son offered reassurance and patiently helped me install the programme (I got to do the scratching to reveal the installation number).
Feeling grateful for a quiet Sunday and a plentiful supply of soft, balm impregnated tissues 🙂