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All About Common Colds

Affinity Health is a leading provider of high-quality healthcare cover. Here is their expert advice on managing a cold in 10 days.

Winter is here. Many families are stocking up on cold medications and immune boosters.


How Do You Catch a Cold?

You know the drill. Before you know it, you are nursing a scratchy throat, sneezing, coughing and lying in bed with a cold.

A cold is a contagious upper respiratory infection. Having a cold affects your nose, throat, sinuses and trachea (windpipe). There are over 200 varieties of viruses that cause a cold. But the most prevalent is the rhinovirus, which handles at least 50% of colds.

You can contract the virus from another affected person. Infection can occur through direct physical contact with someone contagious. Colds also happen after you touch surfaces with then touch your nose or mouth. Surfaces include:

  • Computer keyboards
  • Doorknob
  • Cutlery

Additionally, you can contract it from infectious droplets in the air caused by a sneeze or cough.

When a virus clings to the lining of your nose or throat, a cold begins. Your immune system fights against pathogens. Immune systems dispatch white blood cells to assault this invader.

Your body will send in reinforcements. Your nose and throat become irritated and produce copious amounts of mucus. You exhaust so much energy fighting the cold virus.

One myth you need to forget is that being cold or wet does not make you sick. Several factors increase your risk of contracting a cold. For instance, you are prone to getting sick when exhausted. Symptoms also worsen when during stress, anxiety and nasal congestion.

Signs and Symptoms of a Cold

When a cold occurs, you may experience the following symptoms:

  • Sore or scratchy throat
  • Sneezing
  • Stuffy or blocked nose
  • Watery eyes
  • Low to moderate fever
  • Mild muscle ache
  • Mild headache

Children And Colds

Adults catch two to three colds a year. Children, on the contrary, get about five to seven colds per year. A leading cause is the amount of time at school. Day-care is where they are in close touch with other children.

Also, children are less diligent about:
  • Sneezing into their arms.
  • Washing their hands.
  • Keeping to themselves.

They may not have developed immunity to as many cold strains as adults.

Getting Ready For The Cold Season

In South Africa, most colds occur during winter. Beginning late April or early May, infection rates increase for a few weeks.

“Winter is not to blame for colds. But cold weather may cause more colds in winter. The weather forces you to spend more time indoors, where air circulation lowers. It is also a prime spot for close contact,” says Murray Hewlett, CEO of Affinity Health.

“Humidity changes may also affect how often people get sick. Cold weather may dry up the lining of your nose, making it more susceptible to viral infection.

Affinity Health Warms Hearts With Telehealth

Most colds last between seven and ten days. But you can contact Affinity Health for guidance on minor cold symptoms. Colds tend to lead to an infection caused by germs in the lungs, sinuses, or ears.

When colds bother Affinity members, they relax knowing medical help is a phone call away. Contact 0861 11 00 33 to chat with a nurse, doctor or mental health practitioner.

We all know a nagging cold can be unbearable.

About Affinity Health

Affinity Health is the leading provider of affordable medical insurance in South Africa. Members enjoy access to a network of healthcare providers. We have designed healthcare products to protect you and your family when it matters the most. We strive to give our clients peace of mind and the highest standard of service. For more information, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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