According to one widely reported study, your risk of catching a cold can increase by as much as 20 percent when travelling by plane and may be 113 times more likely to be transmitted on a plane than during normal daily life on the ground. But GP and Olbas expert Dr Roger Henderson said: “It probably makes relatively little difference if you’re on the ground in fresh air or breathing recirculated air on a plane – the key thing is that if a cold virus is present near you, you’re at risk of being infected with it.”
He continued: “Droplets in the air – caused by someone with a cold sneezing or coughing – is a common way to catch a cold as well as touching something that someone with a cold has touched (such as a cup or tray).”
“If you touch something with a cold virus on it and then touch your face, you’re at risk of catching a cold. However, on a flight you’re probably not going to catch a cold if you’re two rows or more away from someone with a cold because you’re unlikely to interact closely enough with them to catch it.”
Risk factors for catching a summer cold include spending lots of time around children – who don’t wash their hands as much as adults and who can easily spread germs through kissing – and in enclosed public places or in close contact with other people with colds, said Dr Henderson.
Your risk is increased if you don’t wash your hands regularly, are very young or very old, or have a weakened immune system because of illness, some medications, not getting enough sleep or having a very unhealthy lifestyle.
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There are more than 200 different cold viruses and it’s likely that most of us will catch at least one or two colds every year.
Dr Henderson advised: “A dry, scratchy sore throat is often the first sign followed by a runny nose, fatigue and loss of appetite.
“This is different from flu symptoms that are more severe, start suddenly and include a high fever, extreme fatigue and significant muscle aches and pains.”
So what can you do to prevent a summer cold?
Some studies have found taking vitamin C before cold symptoms start may shorten the length of time you have symptoms.
A recent survey conducted by Enzymatica, manufacturers of Coldzyme, has revealed a scratchy/itchy throat is the most common symptom people notice as an initial sign of catching a cold followed by sneezing, a headache, muscular pain and sore eyes.
Coldzyme works by capturing the virus where it first starts to multiply.