Sniffing, sneezing and blowing your nose. Due to weather changes, colds are common. According to the RIVM, the season of respiratory infections has begun. What helps treat a stuffy nose? What resources should you not use? Answers from GP Tania Toledo. “Antibiotics only help against bacteria.”

“A cold involves inflammation of the mucous membranes of the nose, throat, and sinuses,” Toledo explains. “This causes complaints such as stuffy nose, runny nose, lack of smell, sneezing, coughing, hoarse voice, sore throat, headache, earache and tinnitus.”

The common cold is caused by a virus. “There are different viruses that can cause the common cold,” the doctor says. “One of the most famous viruses is the rhinovirus and now also the coronavirus. A cold is one of the complaints associated with the coronavirus. The cold virus can be transmitted by touch. For example, if someone has a cold, they cough into their hand and then shake your hand. But also by Through the air, by inhaling infected droplets.”

Steam with hot water

It is a myth that you will catch a cold if you go outside without a coat. “This could have also happened with the jacket,” Toledo says. “You get a cold because you have a cold virus, not because you walk outside without a coat. But there are other factors at play that have to do with the cold. In the winter, you spend more time indoors and there is less ventilation, so there is a greater chance of contamination. Mucous membranes also Dry skin, which often occurs in the winter, is more sensitive to viruses, and the immune system doesn’t know well how to fight the cold virus when it’s cold.

Steaming with hot water loosens the mucus, making it easier to clear and breathe better

Tania Toledo, MD

Unfortunately, there are no magic remedies or tips to get rid of the common cold. However, you can make the virus more bearable by alleviating symptoms. “Your body has to fight the virus itself,” Toledo explains. “Antibiotics only help against bacteria. In fact, it only causes side effects. What you can do is keep blowing your nose until you can breathe freely through your nose. You can also steam. Steaming with hot water loosens the mucus, making it easier to get rid of and breathe smoothly.” Better.Do not put menthol in hot water, as this will only irritate the respiratory system further.Dry cleaning is strictly not encouraged by burn centers for (parents of) young children and teens due to the risk of burns.

Addiction to nasal spray

Also, the nasal spray only fights the symptoms, not the virus itself. Xylometazoline (Otrivin) temporarily shrinks the mucous membrane in the nose, making breathing through the nose easier. The doctor confirms: “But you can use this for a maximum of one week.” “If it is used for longer than a week, it may damage the mucous membrane and over time the mucous membrane will become thicker. What we often see in practice is that people who use it for a long time become addicted to the nasal spray. The only time they open their nose is “It’s when they use a nasal spray.”

Smoking has a negative effect on the mucous membranes and can cause you to have complaints for a longer period

Toledo asked

You can actually remove the onions next to your bed. The doctor laughs, saying, “Well, that’s one of Grandma’s tricks.” “It has not been scientifically proven to help. In this case I think: if it doesn’t help, it won’t hurt. When you cut an onion, your eyes start watering because of synpropanethial-S-oxide. But I can’t imagine that this would provide relief to the respiratory system.”

Increased shortness of breath and wheezing

You can’t prevent a cold, but you can reduce your chance of catching a cold by following a healthy lifestyle. “Eat a healthy, varied diet and make sure you get enough vitamins,” Toledo says. “Get enough exercise, go outside regularly (to get vitamin D) and don’t smoke! Smoking has a harmful effect on the mucous membranes and can cause the complaint to last longer.”

Going to the doctor is only necessary in extreme cases. “If shortness of breath or wheezing increases, or if the patient feels increasingly ill. “This concerns high fever and, for example, it is no longer possible to walk to the toilet.”

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