For centuries scientists have sought a cure for the common cold. Now it seems a team from the University of Edinburgh may have found a possible but simple traditional remedy – sea salt.
Dr Sandeep Ramalingam, NHS Lothian said:
“We are very encouraged by these suggestions from our pilot study that the misery caused by a cold can be effectively reduced with such a simple and cheap method.”
The cold might seem as a minor irritation and just something you have to put up with in winter but it can effect the economy if sufferers have to take time off work till the worst of it passes.
ELVIS the Edinburgh and Lothians Viral Intervention Study, recruited healthy adults within two days of them catching a cold. For 2 weeks the participants had to keep a diary and the researchers took swabs to measure the cold virus they were carrying.
They were then divided into 2 groups – 1. control group 2.group that gargled and cleared their nose with a salt solution.
Those who did nasal irrigation and gargling with the salty solution had a shorter cold, were less likely to pass it on to their family, had faster viral clearance and were less likely to use medicines from a pharmacy. Researchers say sea salt may work by boosting cells’ antiviral defence that kicks in when they are affected by a cold.
Professor Aziz Sheikh,University of Edinburgh said:
“We hope to build on these early promising findings with a follow-on larger trial and with studies in high-risk populations such as those with asthma.”
The study has now been extended to research how salt water nose drops could help children with a cold – ELVIS Kids
There are other traditional remedies which may be less effective.
But then Elvis has always been the answer to steer away those winter blues.
Reporter: Fiona Grahame