Feeling low with the cold? ELVIS has the answer

woman with a cold or allergyFor 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.

Cold cures

Wellcome Collection gallery

But then Elvis has always been the answer to steer away those winter blues.

Reporter: Fiona Grahame

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2 replies »

  1. Funnily enough, last time I had a bad cold, which was, let’s say, a very snotty one……Andrew ( Appleby) advised exactly that. He advised me to squirt salty water up my nose, he said that it would feel horrible, but then, there would be a whoooosh! and my nose would clear, like magic.
    I must admit, I didn’t try it – the idea of squirting salty water up my nose, when I felt miserable anyway, didn’t appeal – I went more for the cosseting myself approach – though I very much appreciated Roo’s concern for my well-being

    My family’s cure for a cold was…..poitin – hot as you can drink it. Probably doesn’t ‘cure’ you,. but does make you feel better – or oblivious!

  2. My first chapter in Now And Then Notes is entitled ‘SNOT’ Written nearly 20 years ago now, it deals with that pernicious cold, which will go through you and the family. Sniffing a warm heavily saline solution up your nostrils, one at a time is the cure. This remedy made the Pathologist for Inverness-shire well, much against his prog-noses!

    Snorting salt water has been my family’s defence against cold. sore throats, flu and sinus attacks. Cheap, effective and no sleepy drugs.

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