Friday, 16 October 2009

The Curse of the Common Cold

This is a post I wrote for the London Mums Blog that I wanted to share with Mummy Zen readers too.


The whole family is suffering from colds at the moment. I rarely got colds before our son was born and now in his ten months of life, I’ve lost count of the number of colds we’ve all had and how many sick days my husband’s taken! It starts with my son and then it’s just a matter of days before my husband and I get it and it seems to take so long for us all to be properly better again. Parents of older children tell us how it only gets worse, as once they attend school they pick up bugs all the time.

Being ill with a baby is in itself something challenging too. You can’t just have a duvet day and wallow in your own self-pity when there’s a little one to look after. They are miserable with their sniffles and you are miserable with yours and it all makes for some long days. If you are both feeling up to going out for a walk then I think that helps, just to get out of the house and have some fresh air. If you are lucky enough to have a family member or friend nearby who can come over and keep you company or help with the baby while you have a rest, then that’s a great option. Other than that, you have to be patient and remind yourself that you will soon be better and back to your usual selves.

As we are moving into peak cold-catching season, I am keen to try anything and everything to avoid more colds in the family. Here’s what I researched on the matter of cold prevention and the best ways to deal with a cold when you do have one. You’ve probably read it all before but a reminder for this time of year can only be a good thing. I learnt, for example, that I definitely don’t wash my hands for long enough at a time and that I shouldn’t share a drinking glass with my husband as I often do….And how many people do you see on the tube who sneeze or cough into a tissue???


- Wash your hands regularly, so that germs get killed. Sing ‘Happy Birthday’ twice whilst doing so. It’s the rubbing of your hands that gets rid of the germs.

- Moderate daily exercise is linked to a reduced risk of colds

- Get out for some fresh air. Central heating dries out your your body making you more susceptible to catching colds

- Take regular saunas! A 1989 study revealed that those who took a sauna twice a week got half as many colds as those who didn’t.

- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth to reduce your chances of infection.


- Don’t share drinking glasses or utensils with anyone as this will spread a virus.

- Drink lots of fluids to avoid dehydration, ideally 6-8 glasses of water a day.

- Get as much rest as you can during the day and plenty of sleep at night.

- Eat hot (spicy) foods: ginger, chilli, garlic, wasabi and horseradish are all good for your immune system

- Eat fruit rich in vitamin C.

- Always sneeze and cough into tissues, not into your hands

Do you have any other tips that work for your family to keep colds at bay?


  1. I always think using a neti pot helps to prevent and keep symptoms under control for adults. Unfortunately I don't have many good tips for kids, other than keep them hydrated and comfortable. Also keeping the head of the bed elevated to help with drainage.

  2. the best thing to do to avoid getting Common cold is to keep your immune system at optimum level by taking lots of vitamin-c and also avoiding stress.

  3. Thanks to both of you for your helpful suggestions!


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