How to keep your children’s teeth healthy

People may wonder is there a need to look after a child’s first set of teeth as they can often be deemed as ‘just baby teeth’. But you should start the conversation early with your dentists about your child’s oral care needs as soon as their first tooth makes an appearance.

The most common questions parents ask us is when do their children need to start brushing their teeth and how to get them to do it. In this blog, we want to share with you some useful tips that might give a helping hand in your child’s dental routine.

Most importantly don’t be put off if your child is resistance to brushing their teeth at the start, it’s totally normal it’s a foreign concept to them, they don’t understand why or what you are trying to do but keep persisting with it. Do it at the same every day, morning and night and get a routine going, it’s key because if you skip it once or twice then they might think it’s optional and that’s when the real trouble starts.

When to start brushing teeth? 

0-2 Years

  • Start cleaning a baby’s teeth as soon as their first teeth
  • Use a soft brush and water only
  • Do not use toothpaste
  • Cleaning is very important to avoid tooth decay
  • Routine is very important at the start and NEVER skip brushing morning and night

2-7 Years

  • Only use a small pea-size amount of fluoride toothpaste
  • Brush teeth twice a day – morning & night
  • It takes between 2-3 minutes to brush teeth correctly

Here are some of our favourite ways to get little ones to brush!

  • Copy-cat: Children always look up to their older siblings or parents so if they see you brushing they will want to be just like you.
  • Egg timers: These are a great and simple way to encourage your child to brush their teeth for 2-3minutes
  • Reward Charts: This incentive is a perfect way to motivate your child to brush BOTH morning and night. There are loads to choose from on rewardchart4kids.com
  • Apps: Here are some apps that you may find helpful Brush DJ, Brush Up, Brush Teeth with the Wiggles.

Brought to you by Spotlight Oral Care

Sensitive Teeth?

Tooth sensitivity is a common dental problem that involves discomfort or pain in teeth when encountering certain substances and temperatures. Read on to learn more about managing your sensitive teeth so you can enjoy the foods you love!

What Causes Sensitive Teeth?

Dentine hypersensitivity, or tooth sensitivity is a condition that can develop over time, as a result of common problems such as receding gums and enamel wear. Most sufferers are between 20 and 50 years old. Tooth sensitivity can start to happen when the softer, inner part of the tooth called ‘dentine’ becomes exposed. Dentine lies under the enamel and the gums.

Thousands of microscopic channels run through the dentine towards the centre of the tooth. Once the dentine is exposed, external triggers (such as a cold drink) can stimulate the nerves inside the tooth, resulting in the characteristic short, sharp pain of tooth sensitivity.

Only a dentist can confirm you have dentine hypersensitivity. If you are experiencing any dental problems, always consult your dentist for advice. If you have dentine hypersensitivity, you can help to minimise further exposure of the dentine, care for your sensitive teeth and relieve the painful symptoms by making some simple changes to your daily oral care routine and dietary habits.

Why Do My Teeth Hurt?

If you’ve ever winced after an unwelcome twinge of tooth sensitivity, you’re not the only one. But remember, there can be many different causes of dental pain, other than tooth sensitivity. So if you are feeling any tooth pain or discomfort, especially if it persists, the best thing you can do is visit your dentist and seek professional advice

Common Triggers for Sensitive Teeth

A range of things can trigger a twinge or tooth pain for people with sensitive teeth. Here’s some of the most common triggers for tooth sensitivity:

  • Eating cold food or drinking cold drinks
  • Eating hot food or drinking hot drinks
  • Eating sugary or sour foods
  • Breathing in cold air
  • Brushing teeth

How Should I Treat Sensitive Teeth?

After discovering you have tooth sensitivity, it’s a natural next step to want to know what you can do about it. Talk to your dentist about what has caused you to have this problem, what you can do to relieve it and how to help prevent it from getting worse. They can advise you on the most suitable oral care routine for someone with sensitive teeth, the best toothbrushing technique for you, how often and when. In addition, you can relieve the painful symptoms of tooth sensitivity by changing your regular toothpaste to a daily use toothpaste specially formulated to care for sensitive teeth, such as Sensodyne.

 

 

 

 

 

Best way to brush your teeth

The team at Corsodyl have created a guide to the best way to brush your teeth so here are six simple steps you can take in your daily oral care routine to reduce your risk of seeing blood when you spit

  1. TWICE FOR TWO

Brushing helps remove plaque bacteria and food particles that, if allowed to build up around, on and in between your teeth, can irritate your gums and lead to problems like gingivitis. Brush for two minutes twice a day, ideally using a fluoride toothpaste like Corsodyl Toothpaste.

  1. DON’T MISS ANYWHERE

Make sure you clean every corner of your mouth whenever you brush, including hard to reach areas like in between your teeth. Move methodically around your mouth, covering off the outer and inside surfaces of all your teeth (upper and lower) as well as the chewing surfaces. You can also ask your dentist about the best way to brush your teeth.

  1. BE GENTLE

When it comes to teeth cleaning, harder is not better. In fact, brushing too roughly or too much, or using a worn toothbrush can wear away tooth enamel, so brush carefully. It is also recommended to replace your toothbrush every three months.

  1. KNOW YOUR ANGLES

Use a circular or elliptical motion and point the toothbrush down towards the gum at a 45 degree angle. This helps clean the gum line (the area where the gum meets the tooth). For the inside surfaces of your front teeth, tilt the brush vertically and use the front part to make small, circular strokes.

  1. DON’T FORGET YOUR GUM LINE

Your gum line can be susceptible to the build-up of harmful plaque bacteria. Be especially careful to brush away plaque from this area as well as from in the gaps between your teeth. Along with regular flossing or using interdental brushes, this can help you control plaque build-up.

  1. AND DON’T FORGET YOUR TONGUE EITHER

Good oral hygiene isn’t just about your teeth and gums. Brushing your tongue gently can also help freshen your breath and clean your mouth by removing bacteria.

The Corsodyl Treatment Range is clinically proven to treat and prevent gingivitis. You can use Corsodyl Treatment Products when experiencing persistent or worsening gum problems. Corsodyl 0.2% w/v Mint Mouthwash is our most advanced antimicrobial mouthwash formulation. The active ingredient chlorhexidine digluconate acts rapidly, killing the bacteria that causes plaque in less than 30 seconds of rinsing.

Self Care Tips

Self care is more important now than ever, we need to make sure that we are okay before we can take care of others. Self care promotes a healthy lifestyle as it reduces stress, increases confidence and gives us a more positive outlook on life.

Here are some self care tips to help you bring out the best in yourself:

Eat a Balanced Healthy Diet: 
– Eat more vegetables, salad and fruit – up to seven servings a day
– Limit intake of high fat, sugar and salt in food and drinks
– Size matters: use the Food Pyramid as a guide for serving sizes
– Increase your physical activity levels, small changes can make a big difference

Improve your Physical Wellbeing:
– Children and young people (2-18): all children and young people should be active, at a moderate to vigorous level, for at least 60 minutes every day
– Adults (18-69): at least 30 minutes a day of moderate activity on five days a week or 150 minutes a week
– Children and adults with a disability should aim to be as active as their disability allows, and aim to meet the guideline for their age group if possible
– Visit your GP at least once a year for a full check up and know your numbers in relation to weight, blood pressure and BMI

Look after your Mental Health:
Going for a walk or run can help get rid of pent-up energy and can leave you feeling much calmer.
– Make contact with out with family or friends by email, phone or video-calling.
– Taking some deep breaths and try meditation — deep breathing can help to relax the body.
– Practice mindfullness and do something that makes you feel good – treat yourself!

Maintain a good Sleep Routine:
– Getting some good sleep, as a lack of sleep can affect your general well-being.
– Keeping your usual sleep routine is vital, get up at the usual time and retire to bed when you feel tired.
– Limit the amount of caffeine in the evenings as stimulants will keep you awake and disrupt your pattern.
– While we sleep, our bodies use this time to rest and repair so good sleep hygiene is vital to strengthen your body’s immune response

Other self care tips include:

  • Spend more time with family & friends to build your sense of belonging
  • Declutter your bedroom to create a calm space
  • Take control of your finances & reduce your debt
  • Reduce your time on social media channels
  • Start a new hobby making more time to do the things you enjoy!

Remember, self care is not selfish – it’s necessary and plays an important role in our overall wellness.

If you need more advice, visit your local Haven Pharmacy for a confidential, non-judgemental chat.

Haven,  you’re in expert hands.

Are you getting enough Vitamin D?

Did you know that Vitamin D is vital for the development of healthy bones, teeth and muscles? The best natural resource of Vitamin D is the sun, however in Ireland during the winter months, we are exposed to very little sunlight, especially people working typical 9-5pm office hours.

We can also get our Vitamin D from our diet by eating foods rich in dairy such as milk, butter, cheese and yoghurt. Oily fish such as salmon and mackerel are a good source of Vitamin D as well as egg yolks. Unfortunately we don’t eat enough of these foods to get the recommended amount of Vitamin D our body needs.

TILDA researchers have found there is insufficient daily intake of the vitamin across Ireland:

  • 47% of all adults over 85 are deficient in winter
  • 27% of adults over 70 who are ‘cocooning’ are estimated to be deficient
  • 1 in 8 adults over 50 are deficient all year round
  • Only 4% of men and 15% of women take a Vitamin D supplement.

In recent years, there has been huge renewed interest in vitamin D, with new global research showing that the health benefits of this nutrient stretch beyond bone health. There is increasing evidence for the beneficial effects from dietary vitamin D which has shown benefits for its contribution to;

  • Normal function of the immune system
  • Maintenance of normal bones and teeth
  • Normal absorption and utilisation of calcium and phosphorus
  • Normal muscle function
  • Normal blood calcium levels
  • The process of cell division

Vitamin D has been in the news frequently recently for its links to Covid-19. A trial on the relationship Vitamin D has in preventing colds, flu and chest infections found that Vitamin D had a significant protective effect when it was given daily or weekly to people with lowest vitamin D levels. The study showed that after taking Vitamin D the risk of having a cold or flu was reduced from 60% to 32% in these people. Therefore, maintaining a sufficient vitamin D level is beneficial in prevention of colds and flus and may therefore be of benefit in the COVID-19 pandemic.

Vitabiotics Ultra Vitamin D tablets were developed as a convenient way to supplement the diet with vitamin D. By taking a daily supplement with food, Ultra Vitamin D contributes to the maintenance of normal bones and teeth and is also known for its role in supporting normal function of the immune system, normal cell division and normal muscle function.

 

       

 

Vitabiotics have two Vitamin D strengths available which both come in a three-month supply from just one small daily tablet.. Now available from your local Haven Pharmacy alongside other leading Vitamin D brands.

Stay Fit – Stay Healthy!

Did you start off 2021 with new goals and objectives for the year ahead? Perhaps one of them is to get fit & healthy or lose weight. One of the best ways we can do any of these is to go Walking! It’s one form of exercise that is both free and easy to do. There’s no training involved, it can be a great social activity if you want it to be…. and you can do it anywhere!

We all know walking is good for us but it’s actually more important than we realise. Click on the infographic below to see the 20 benefits of walking:

Being physically active is probably the single most important thing that we can do for maintaining or improving our physical and mental health and wellbeing. Physical activity which includes an active lifestyle and routine exercise, like walking, plus eating sensibly is the best way to stay healthy. Here is a guideline of activity for you and your family:

Children and Young People (2-18)
All children and young people should be active, at a moderate to vigorous level, for at least 60 minutes every day. Include muscle-strengthening, flexibility and bone-strengthening exercises 3 times a week.

Adults (18-64)
At least 30 minutes a day of moderate activity on 5 days a week (or 150 minutes a week). You can count shorter bouts of activity towards the guidelines. These bouts should last for at least 10 minutes.

Older People (65+)
At least 30 minutes a day of moderate intensity activity on 5 days a week, or 150 minutes a week. Focus on aerobic activity, muscle-strengthening and balance.

Walking is the best form of exercise as it can be tailored to most fitness levels and health needs – and it’s absolutely FREE! No gym membership, no sign up fees – all you need is comfortable footwear, appropriate clothing for the weather and you are good to go!

Here are 5 tips to help you get started and stay on track:

– Go for a stroll after dinner each day instead of watching television – make this a habit like brushing your teeth or taking your vitamins
– Give yourself an aim like walk to the shop to get milk or post a letter to a friend – it helps to have a reason to get to your destination
– Change your route and explore different paths every day – that way it won’t seem so monotonous and you will gain more appreciation of your the surroundings on your doorstep
– Leave the car at home and walk to public transport to get to work / shops – this is not only good for your health but you will also save money too!
– Keep track of your progress by using a calendar or a fitness tracker – you will soon see improvements in your timing and want to increase your steps

For more information on how to get started on your new fitness plan, call in to your local Haven Pharmacy for more advice!

Quit Smoking with Haven Pharmacy

1 in every 2 smokers will die of a tobacco-related disease. It doesn’t have to be that way – you can quit!

Have you tried to give up smoking in the past? Have you managed to give up for long periods of time and then one little slip spiralled you back to your former full-time smoking self?

The disappointment in returning to this bad habit might off trying to quit again? Don’t let it… Never give up giving up!

Giving Up
With our customers health in mind, we have put a plan in place for anyone that wants to quit, so please speak to one of our trained advisers or ask your Haven pharmacist if you would like advice on which Nicotine Replacement Treatment (NRT) is best suited to your needs. There are a range of very effective over the counter remedies available from your Haven pharmacy to help stop smoking.

Health Benefits 
Straight away you will have fresher breath, hair & clothes and

Straight away you prevent staining your fingers & teeth and delay premature aging

Straight away you will have more money in your pocket!

Within 20 mins your blood pressure and pulse rate begin to return to normal

Within 1 day your risk of heart attack begins to fall

Within 2 days you will have a better sense of taste and smell

Within 3 days you will feel fitter as you will be less breathless as the nicotine is gone from your body completely

After 2-3 weeks your lung function will improve

Within 2-3 months your lung capacity can increase by up to 30%

After 1 year your risk of sudden death from a heart attack is almost cut in half, while your risk from cancer is also reduced

After 5 years the risk of smoking related cancers will be greatly reduced

After 10 years the risk of a heart attack drops to almost the same as a non-smoker

Did you know Ireland has more quitters than smokers?

Join the Quitters and start your journey today! Here are some helpful tips to guide you on the road to a smoke free life…

  1. Decide to Quit

Write down all the reasons why you want to quit so you can refer to them in moments of weakness.

  1. Make a Date

Pick a date that you feel you will be relaxed and focused on quitting and then stick to it. Throw out all your cigarettes including any emergency supplies as quitting outright is more effective than cutting down gradually.

  1. Talk to Your Support Team

Friends and family can offer wonderful encouragement when trying to quit. Talk to your Haven Pharmacist for advice in our private consultation room or contact the National Smokers’ Quitline on 1850 201 203 for Free Support

  1. Avoid Your Triggers and Temptations

Know your trigger situations and prepare in advance. Many of our customers find it difficult to avoid a cigarette when drinking alcohol. Try to remove this trigger in the first couple of weeks/months after quitting.

  1. Learn how to cope with cravings

Cravings can occur frequently in the first week of quitting. Remember cravings intensify over 3 to 5 minutes then subside.

Practice the Four D’s:

  • Delay acting on the urge to smoke – it will pass
  • Deep breathing, calm your nerves
  • Drink lots of water, it will decrease the need for snacking
  • Distract yourself, do something else to take your mind off it
  1. Make positive lifestyle choices

Increase your level of exercise as this helps improve mood and manages your weight. Many quitters experience a spike in appetite after giving up initially, this is your body and mind adjusting to a habit and it will level out. Avoid snacking on sweets, choose healthy snacks like fruit and nuts instead. Go for a brisk walk or jog to get rid of your anxiety or stress – it will help your body and mind.

  1. Stay positive!

In moments of weakness remember why you are quitting and believe in the strength of your will power. Look back at the list of reasons you put together when you decided to quit. This will shift your focus back to the long term goal.

  1. Reward yourself

Cigarettes are expensive! Get a money box, work out how much money you were spending each week on cigarettes and put it away. Buy yourself something as a treat instead. The important thing is, be kind to yourself. Don’t see quitting as a punishment, see it as a liberation and a step on the road to a happy and healthier life!

For more information on starting your Smoke Free journey – contact your local Haven Pharmacy who will help you with your plan and start you on the right NRT products from Nicorette- we have a range of patches, gum, quick mist, lozenges and inhalers. Using these NRT products increases your chance of successfully stopping by up to 70%!

Sign up for your Quit Plan from the HSE and start your smoke free journey today to look forward to a healthier and happier lifestyle.

Good luck, YOU CAN DO THIS!

 

 

Stroke – Would You Know What to Do?

The sooner a person receives treatment for a stroke, the less damage is likely to happen. Always err on the side of caution and seek emergency medical advice if you suspect that you or someone you know might be having a stroke.

 

What Causes a Stroke?

A stroke occurs when a blood vessel, which is carrying oxygen and nutrients to an area of the brain bursts or is blocked by a clot. This can damage or destroy brain cells which will affect abilities controlled by that area of the brain such as memory and muscle control. A stroke is a medical emergency. Therefore, recognising the symptoms and accessing treatment immediately can be crucial.

What Are the Symptoms of a Stroke?

How a person is affected by their stroke depends on where the stroke occurs in the brain and how much of the brain is damaged. However, there are key factors that can help to identify when a stroke may be occurring. These include:

  • Numbness, weakness, or paralysis on one side of the body
  • Slurred speech, difficulty thinking of words or understanding other people
  • Confusion or memory loss
  • Sudden blurred vision or sight loss
  • Being unsteady on your feet
  • Severe headache

 

Act F>A>S>T

Face – Can the person smile? Has their Mouth or eye drooped?

Arm – Can the person raise both arms?

Speech – Can the person speak clearly and understand what you say?

Time – Call 999 or 112 for an ambulance immediately if you spot any one of these signs

DON’T wait for the symptoms to go away

KNOW your Eircode so that the ambulance can reach you as fast as possible

Types of Stroke

Ischemic Stroke (blocked artery)

Over 80% of strokes are caused by a blockage of an artery supplying blood to the brain. This is known as an ischaemic stroke. Ischemic stroke can be broken into two main types: thrombotic and embolic

A thrombotic stroke occurs when diseased or damaged cerebral arteries become blocked by the formation of a blood clot within the brain.

An embolic stroke is also caused by a clot within an artery, but in this case the clot (or emboli) forms somewhere other than in the brain itself. Often from the heart, these emboli will travel in the bloodstream until they become lodged and cannot travel any farther. This naturally restricts the flow of blood to the brain and results in near-immediate physical and neurological deficits.

Ministroke/Transient ischemic attack (TIA)

TIA is a temporary period of symptoms  similar to those you’d have in a stroke. A temporary decrease in blood supply to part of your brain causes TIAs, which may last as little as five minutes.

TIAs are caused when a clot or debris blocks blood flow to part of your nervous system – but there is no permanent tissue damage and no lasting symptoms.

Having TIA puts you at greater risk of have a stroke. If you’ve had a TIA, it means there’s likely a partially blocked or narrowed artery leading to your brain or a clot source in the heart.

Always seek emergency care if you fear that you might be having a TIA,  even if your symptoms seem to clear up.

 Hemorrhagic Stroke (destroyed artery)

Up to 20% of strokes are caused by a bleed into the brain from a burst blood vessel. This is called a cerebral haemorrhage and causes the more serious kind of stroke. It is often not obvious why someone should have suffered a stroke. Even though many people believe it to be a factor, stress is not a cause of stroke.

How Can I Prevent Having a Stroke?

Many factors can increase your stroke risk. There are steps that you can take in order to limit your risk of stroke. These include:

  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Keeping physically active
  • Drink alcohol in moderation, if at all
  • Avoid the use of illicit drugs such as cocaine and methamphetamines
  • Don’t smoke
  • Controlling high blood pressure
  • Controlling diabetes

 

If you would like to avail of expert advice around stroke prevention or anything detailed in this article, drop into your local Haven Pharmacy where we have expert community Pharmacists ready to help you to improve your health and look after yourself.

How to care for someone with Flu at home

Seasonal flu (also known as influenza) is a highly infectious illness caused by the flu virus. The virus infects your lungs and upper airways, causing a sudden high temperature and general aches and pains, headache, weakness and exhaustion. Symptoms can last for up to one week. You may need to stay in bed until your symptoms get better. Flu affects people of all ages. In some people flu can cause serious complications such as pneumonia.

 

How can I care for someone with flu at home?

If you are at home with flu or taking care of someone at home, follow these tips to help stop the flu spreading to others:

  • If you have the flu stay in one room with the door closed and, if possible, open a window for fresh air
  • Family members should limit time spent with someone with flu and avoid sharing dishes, books, toys, etc
  • Avoid face-to-face contact with someone who has the flu
  • Discourage visits from people not living in the house
  • If you have flu, cover your nose and mouth with disposable tissues when sneezing or coughing. If tissues are not available, coughing or sneezing into your arm or sleeve (not hand) is recommended
  • Used tissues should be put into a bin and the bin sealed in the room and immediately taken outside for collection
  • Wash hands often with soap and water or alcohol-based hand rub, especially after coughing and sneezing
  • Everyone in the house should frequently clean their hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub, especially after every contact with someone with flu or their room or bathroom
  • Avoid touching the eyes, nose and mouth with your hands as this helps spreads the flu virus
  • Surfaces and items inside the house should be cleaned regularly with bleach-based household cleaners

How is Flu spread?

If you are carrying the virus, you can spread it by coughing or sneezing. This can happen from 1-2 days before symptoms develop and up to 5 days after symptoms develop. Flu can survive on worktops and objects, especially in low temperatures and low humidity. You can get flu by touching a surface with the virus on it and then touching your mouth, eyes or nose. The virus can live on a hard surface for up to 24 hours and a soft surface for around 20 minutes.

How Serious is Flu?

The Flu virus is an unpredictable virus. If you are healthy you will usually recover in 7 days. But Flu can be severe and can cause serious illness and death. Complications of flu include bronchitis, pneumonia, ear infections and rarely acute encephalopathy (swelling of the brain). Serious complications of flu are more likely if you have a chronic medical condition or if you are aged 65 years or older. Pregnant women are also at increased risk of flu complications. In Ireland, between 200 and 500 people, mainly older people, die from flu each winter. Every year, around the world, flu causes between 3 and 5 million cases of severe disease and up to 646, 000 deaths.

At-risk groups

The HSE are strongly urging people in at-risk groups to get the flu vaccine. It is strongly recommended the vaccine if you:

  • are 65 years of age and over
  • are pregnant
  • are a child or adult with a long-term health condition
  • work in healthcare
  • are a carer or household contact of anyone at increased medical risk of flu
  • live in a nursing home or other long-term care facility
  • in regular contact with pigs, poultry or water fowl

You should not get the flu vaccine if you have had a severe allergic (anaphylaxis) reaction to a previous dose or any part of the vaccine. Don’t get the flu vaccine if you are taking medicines called combination checkpoint inhibitors (e.g. ipilimumab plus nivolumab). Vaccination should be re-scheduled if you have an acute illness with a temperature greater than 38°C.

The Flu Vaccine

The seasonal flu vaccine protects against the 4 strains of flu virus recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) as the strains most likely to be circulating this season. The flu viruses that are circulating change every year. This is why you need to get a new vaccine each year. People 10 years and over should get the vaccine from their GP or Pharmacist or Occupational Health Department. Younger children should get the vaccine from their GP. The flu vaccine is free if you are in an at-risk group but you may be charged a consultation fee, unless you have a medical card or a GP visit card. The flu vaccine doesn’t contain any live viruses – it cannot give you the flu.

How it works

The flu vaccine helps your immune system to produce antibodies to fight influenza virus. If you have been vaccinated and you come into contact with the virus, these antibodies will attack it and stop you from getting sick. The flu vaccine starts to work within two weeks.

The seasonal flu vaccine is available from October 2019 until the end of April 2020

Speak to your local Haven Pharmacist about the Flu Vaccine. You can make an appointment in selected Haven Pharmacy stores nationwide.

 

For more information about Flu and it’s symptoms check out the HSE website

 

 

Everything You Need to Know About the Common Cold

Ever wonder why the symptoms of a cold tend to vary greatly? That’s because the common cold is caused by any one of more than two hundred viruses!

Adults tend to get two to four colds a year but children (especially preschoolers) may have up to eight to ten colds annually. Both adults and children are more susceptible to the common cold in the autumn and winter months when children are in school and people are spending a lot of time indoors.

Haven pharmacists have shared some of their expert advice so that you know what type of cold you have and how best to treat it. Also, we highlight the importance of self-care and dispel some “old wives” tales.

How Do We Catch a Cold?

The cold virus enters your body via your mouth or nose through contact with another carrier who has sneezed or coughed close to you. It can also spread by hand to hand contact with someone who has a cold or by using shared objects such as cutlery, towels, toys or telephones. If you touch your eyes, nose or mouth after such contact or exposure you are likely to acquire a common cold. Other “old wives” tales about how you catch a common cold, such as going outdoors with wet hair for example, have never been proven with clinical studies.

What are the Symptoms of a Cold?

These symptoms generally gradually develop over a few hours and occur one to three days after exposure to the virus. They usually last about seven days. Some symptoms, such as a cough, may persist after the worst of a cold is over. Symptoms of a cold include:

  • Runny/blocked nose
  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Aches and pain
  • Headache
  • Sore throat

Although you may feel hot when you have a cold it is unlikely to be a temperature. The presence of a fever may be an indication of flu rather than a cold.

During the summer months, you may have symptoms like nasal congestion, sneezing and irritated watery eyes but these are likely to be due to allergy or hayfever.

Who is Most at Risk?

Children

  • Children are more likely to get a cold because they haven’t developed resistance to most of the viruses that cause them. They also spend lots of time with other children who aren’t as careful about washing their hands – making it easier for the cold to spread.

Allergy sufferers

  • If you suffer from seasonal allergies (hayfever) or ongoing allergic reactions to dust, moulds or pet hair, which affects your nasal passages, you are more likely to develop a cold than people who do not have allergies.

Those living or working in close quarters

  • Viral and bacterial infections spread easily anywhere people gather – childcare centres, classrooms, hospitals, offices, prisons and military installations.

What are the Complications of the Common Cold?

Children, the elderly (especially those that are frail, malnourished or suffering from other illnesses), asthmatics and smokers have an increased chance of suffering from complications due to the common cold.

Acute ear infection in children

  • The most common complication of common colds in children is an acute ear infection (otitis media), which occurs when bacteria infiltrate the space behind the eardrum. Typical signs and symptoms include earaches and, in some cases, a green or yellow discharge from the nose or the return of a fever following a cold. Children who are too young to verbalise their distress may simply cry or pull on the affected ear.

**Unlike a common cold, ear infections may require treatment with antibiotics. Young children and children with chronic health problems are most likely to need antibiotics to treat an ear infection.**

Sinusitis

  • In adults or children, a common cold that doesn’t resolve may lead to sinusitis. Other secondary infections that may develop following a cold include strep throat, chronic bronchitis and pneumonia. These infections need to be treated by a doctor.

When Should You Seek Medical Advice?

A cold generally goes away in about a week, although it may not disappear as quickly as you’d like. If your signs and symptoms last longer than a week, you may have a more serious illness, such as flu or pneumonia.

Seek medical attention if you have:

  • Temperature greater than 102 F (38.9C)
  • High temperature accompanied by achiness and fatigue
  • Temperature accompanied by sweating, chills and a cough with coloured phlegm
  • Symptoms that get worse instead of better

Seek medical attention if your child has any of the following signs or symptoms:

  • Temperature of 103 F or higher, chills or sweating (39.4C)
  • Temperature that lasts more than 72 hours
  • Vomiting or abdominal pain
  • Unusual sleepiness
  • Severe headache
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Persistent crying
  • Ear pain

What is the Best Treatment for the Common Cold?

There is no cure for the common cold. Antibiotics are of no use against cold viruses, and over-the-counter cold preparations won’t cure a cold or make it go away any sooner. However, over-the-counter medications such as decongestants and cough expectorants can relieve some symptoms so make sure you talk to your local Haven Pharmacist for advice.

One of the most important things to do, if you have a cold, is to look after yourself. Follow these self-care tips to make yourself as comfortable as possible:

Drink lots of fluid

  • Drink plenty of water and avoid alcohol, caffeine and cigarette smoke, which can cause dehydration and aggravate your symptoms.

Get some rest

  • Consider staying home from work if you have a temperature or a bad cough, or are drowsy from medications. This will give you a chance to rest as well as reduce the chances that you’ll infect others. Wear a mask when you have a cold if you live or work with someone with a chronic disease or compromised immune system.

Adjust your room’s temperature and humidity/steam yourself

  • Keep your room warm, but not overheated. If the air is dry use a vaporiser or humidifier. A cheaper and quite effective method is to boil a kettle several times in a room and place a small bowl of water on top of the radiator (if it is heated). The use of a steam inhalation hydrates the upper respiratory tract and helps loosen phlegm. Menthol and eucalyptus inhalants may also provide relief from the congestion caused by the common cold.

Soothe your throat

  • Gargling with warm salt water several times a day or drinking warm lemon water with honey may help soothe a sore throat and relieve a cough.

 

What is the Best Prevention for the Common Cold?

No effective vaccine has been developed because so many different viruses can cause a common cold. However, you can take some other precautions to slow the spread of cold viruses:

Take a vitamin C supplement during the winter months

  • Vitamin C is essential to maintaining a healthy immune system. Supplementation during the winter months may help to boost the immune system so the body can fight off cold and flu viruses more effectively.

Wash your hands

  • Clean your hands frequently and teach your children the importance of hand washing.

Keep things clean

  • Keep kitchen and bathroom countertops clean, especially when someone in your family has a cold. Wash your child’s toys after play.

Use tissues & dispose of them carefully

  • Always sneeze and cough into tissues. Discard used tissues right away.

Sharing is not always caring

  • Don’t share drinking glasses or utensils with other family members. Use your own glass & cup when you or someone else is ill.

Steer clear of others with a cold

  • Avoid close, prolonged contact with anyone who has a cold.

Choose your child-care centre carefully

  • Look for a child-care setting with sound hygiene practices and clear policies about keeping ill children at home.

Both COVID-19 and the common cold are highly contagious and can spread through the air, close personal contact and when you touch infected surfaces and then your face before washing your hands.

For more advice contact your local pharmacist. Trust Haven to put your family’s health first this Winter.