A runny or blocked nose is one of the most annoying symptoms of a cold. Nasal congestion is caused by swelling of the blood vessels in the lining of the nose.
Unblocking a blocked nose:
- A non-drowsy decongestant can help relieve nasal and sinus congestion
- Nasal sprays can also provide rapid relief
- Steam inhalation warms and moisturises the nasal airways, reducing inflammation and allowing softened mucus to be released
- Vapours from natural aromatic oils, such as cinnamon, pine and menthol, can help relieve blocked noses.
What causes a cough?
Coughing is a reflex action. It is your body's way of clearing the airways of mucus or irritants, such as dust or smoke. Coughs are a symptom of a range of different conditions, including asthma and bronchitis, as well as colds. The viral infection that causes a cold can also spread to your lower respiratory tract, irritating it and making you cough.
If you have a chesty cough, you will be producing phlegm. Chesty coughs are the body's way of expelling unwanted material from the lungs, so any treatment should aim to assist this process by loosening the phlegm and encourage ‘expectoration' rather than suppressing the cough.
Dry and tickly coughs
Dry, tickly coughs are usually light and repetitive, do not produce any phlegm and can be exacerbated by being in a dry or centrally heated environment. The good news is that there are plenty of products on the market to help alleviate the symptoms.
Preventing coughs & colds
Here are our top tips to prevent getting a cough or cold and avoid spreading germs:
- Wash your hands regularly
- Sneeze/cough into tissues and throw them away immediately
- Rest and stay at home when you are sick
- Avoid close contact with those who have a cough/cold or 'flu
- Try to eat a healthy balanced diet and exercise regularly such as going for a brisk walk for 30 minutes, five days a week
Winter Ailments: Treating the Common Cold
More info: Flu Vaccination Service
| More info: Winter health Infographic |