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The odds of anyone avoiding a cold this winter are akin to winning the lottery. Adults can expect to catch two to five colds a year but school children could pick up as many as 10, with infections peaking as temperatures plunge.
One theory, put forward by experts at the Common Cold Centre at Cardiff University, is that cold air-cools the nasal lining, which causes vasoconstriction in the nose and upper airways. They believe this reduction in blood supply is sufficient to suppress our immunity enough to allow a low-level infection with no symptoms to turn into a full-blown cold with a catalogue of uncomfortable symptoms.
Often the first sign of infection is a dry, scratchy and sore throat – and in many cases the first remedy parents’ reach for is paracetamol. But experts, including the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, warn they could be putting children at risk of kidney, liver and heart damage.
Almost half the drug overdoses which require medical treatment involve paracetamol and often as the result of a series of doses rather than one large dose. Paracetamol should always be used with caution, particularly when it is being given to children.
To reduce the risk of overdose, make sure everyone who might be involved — parents, grandparents and carers — knows when and what doses of paracetamol your child has received and where possible use remedies which don’t include paracetamol.
Throaty Soothe, available as a syrup or lozenges, contains no paracetamol and offers a natural and effective solution for sore throats — and unlike most treatments it is so safe it can be given to children from the age of one.
Throaty Soothe syrup — which is suitable for children from 12 months of age, and Throaty Soothe lozenges for children aged four and older — contain a calming and caring combination of three proven soothers and cold fighters — Icelandic moss, mallow and zinc.
£6.99 from Tesco Stores, Tesco.com and Amazon