'The “common cold” is common. Most of us will have at least one or two per year. Children get sick more often and very young children often get more than five colds per year.
Even though it’s so common there’s a lack of good research looking into this infection and ways to prevent and treat it.
It was, and is still thought by many, that exposure to cold temperatures, especially in winter caused the common cold. By itself this does not appear to be true. The common cold is caused by viruses. One needs to catch one of these viruses to get a cold – just exposure to low temperatures won’t do it.
We often believe most of us get these types of respiratory infections because we breathe in the viruses that cause them. The viruses are present in aerosols and droplets so when people cough and sneeze, we can inhale them. However what now looks more likely, is that most of us get these infections via our hands.
We often touch contaminated surfaces. Then we infect ourselves when our hands touch our mouth, nose and/or eyes. So it’s by our hands that we most often “catch” a cold. This is also why good hygiene, along with regular hand-washing with soap and water or with alcohol-based solutions not only decreases our chances of catching a cold but helps protect those around us as well.' (My emphasis)
Full article by Peter Collignon, Professor, infectious diseases and microbiology, Australian National University:
There are some good tips on what does and doesn't work to reduce cold symptom discomfort and interestingly, 'why it’s usually not possible for you, or a doctor, to tell whether you are suffering from a cold or flu.'
Photo: Sea spray from waves giving this headland a pounding. The cold and wet around the shortest day of the year here might make you cold, but won't give you a cold.