You are reading What to do when you get a cold?

Ear, nose & throat

What to do when you get a cold?

November 19, 2018

It is one of the most common viral infections in the world and every year, with the arrival of the cold season, it surprises the immune system of millions of people. There is little to do to cure it, other than to wait for it to take its course. A cold is not a dangerous disease, unless it occurs in the presence of other diseases. We talked about it with Dr. Giovanni Colombo, an ENT specialist.


How do you catch a cold?

The rhinovirus spreads through an infection that usually occurs when you are in close contact with a cold person. The tiny drops of water in the air are sufficient to trigger the inflammation that follows in the body after the spread of the virus. Many cold viruses also resist up to 18 hours outside an organism, so an environment can remain infected for a long time, while on average a cooled person is more contagious in the first three days when the symptoms develop.


How can healing be facilitated?

When it comes to colds, it is a good idea to try to understand how to facilitate healing rather than actually treating them. Since it is a virus and not a bacterium, in fact, antibiotics have no effect, while common anti-inflammatory drugs, as the name of this category of drugs says, can only alleviate the symptoms of inflammation. The only sensible strategy is therefore to wait.

Related articles

That does not mean, however, that we should continue to do what we always do. Going out, perhaps in crowded environments, does not help the immune system to fight the virus which, on the other hand, circulates more easily by infecting new healthy subjects.


Rest and isolation are the best way to help the body heal, preventing the virus from reaping more “victims”. Those who are cooled should therefore work from home, avoid crowded places such as public transport, cough and sneeze bringing to the mouth the inner part of the elbow joint and not the hands. Those who are not cooled should wash their hands often, avoid touching their faces continuously and often ventilate the rooms where they are.


Children, easy targets of the virus

As a child, the immune system does not yet have a “memory” of many infections, so it does not always react quickly, especially in the case of viral infections. This is why children become ill more often. In addition, attending community environments such as kindergartens and schools is easier to transmit the rhinovirus only, trivially, playing.


And prevention?

According to today’s scientific evidence, probiotics, vitamins and supplements to “enhance the immune system” in the coming cold season do not lead to particular benefits not to cool down. What remains valid is that a healthy body, with a gastrointestinal system not inflamed and not subjected to stress is less likely to get sick.


In children, hand hygiene and cleanliness of toys can prevent some infections.

You may also like

Do not miss our advice for your health

Sign up for the weekly Humanitas Health newsletter and get updates on prevention, nutrition, lifestyle and tips to improve your lifestyle