How do you catch a cold?


It’s winter time (at least on this side of the world) and my family is on its fourth or fifth cold of the season. But how do you catch a cold? And why are there so many colds around at this time of the year?

The ‘common cold‘ is an illness caused by a kind of virus called a rhinovirus. There are lots of these viruses, so (like us) you could catch more than one cold each year. These viruses are always around but people tend to catch colds in the winter more than at other times of the year. Scientists and doctors are not really sure why…

Rhinoviruses spread from one person to another in the tiny droplets that come out of your mouth and nose when you cough and sneeze. Check out this video of a slow-motion sneeze to see how yucky it is!

When you have a cold, you get a runny or blocked nose, you may sneeze or cough, and you might have a sore throat. You could feel poorly for a week or two, but you probably won’t need any medicine. The best way to get better is to drink lots of drinks, eat healthy foods and get plenty of rest.

Because having a cold doesn’t feel very nice, you should try not to pass the virus on to other people by:

  • washing your hands, especially before you eat
  • avoiding touching your eyes, picking your nose or putting your fingers in your mouth
  • catching your sneezes and coughs in a tissue, then throwing the tissue in the bin
  • not sharing food or drinks with other people, and using your own knife, fork and spoon at mealtimes

And if you want to try to avoid catching a cold, you should wash your hands often and keep them away from your face!

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