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The truth about Autumn colds and coughs

Whether you like it or not, we’re now entering that time of the year when our noses block up, throats get sore and coughs and colds become part of life for some of us – it feels like Summer has barely had a chance to end before the winter health problems surface.  So why do so many people get sick at the start of Autumn? 

Doctor Kalai Govender, a GP from the Newmarket Medical Centre in Auckland, answered our questions on why so many of us have coughs and colds at this time of year.

Q: Why do people seem to catch colds and coughs so easily in March – after having a healthy Summer?

A: It starts to get cold in the mornings and evenings but still hot during the day.  We tend to catch colds more when the weather is cold.

Q: Why do we catch more colds during colder weather?

A: Current scientific theory is that influences of cold viruses survive better in cold, dry, weather and our sluggish cold weather mucus cannot clear the viruses.

Q: Are there any other reasons why colds jump in Autumn?

A: Schools open in February and viruses spread amongst children in close contact with each other.

Q: What’s your advice to people who feel a cold starting to come on?

A: Treat themselves symptomatically.  Eg. If you have a runny nose get cold and flu pills or nasal inhalers.  Take a paracetamol for pain and fever.  Increase your fluids and make sure you get plenty of rest.

Of course, see a Doctor if symptoms persist or worsen. 

Our thanks to Dr Govender.


– Homepage image / Greg Taylor


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