The causes:

There are more than 200 different viruses that cause colds and this is one of the reasons we get so many. Top of the list are rhinoviruses, but corona viruses, adenoviruses and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) can all cause colds, too. So, just as your body develops immunity to one type of virus, another that you haven’t encountered before comes along and makes you ill if your immune system is below par.

How colds are spread:

You may have been taught that 'coughs and sneezes spread diseases', but colds aren't usually passed on through airborne droplets or particles. The most important way they're spread is via direct contact with an infected person. Typically, the person with the cold touches their nose or coughs on to their hand, leaving thousands of microscopic virus particles on their skin.

When they then touch an object such as a door handle, shopping trolley or another human, they leave the virus behind. The next person to touch the object takes the virus with them.

All that's needed to trigger a cold is a dozen or so virus particles. If the person who has picked up the cold virus touches their own nose or eyes, they deposit it in a warm, moist environment where it can thrive. The virus particles are swept to the adenoids at the back of the throat, where they stick to the cells, invade them and reproduce. Eventually, the cells rupture, releasing thousands of new virus particles to spread to other cells.

This process is remarkably rapid – it takes just eight to 12 hours from the arrival of the virus in your body to release of new virus particles. Symptoms also develop quickly – within about ten hours (this is known as the incubation period). So, in less than half a day of shaking hands with a person with a cold, you too could have all the unpleasant symptoms.

The symptoms:

Symptoms are mostly caused by the body's reaction to the cold virus, which triggers the release of chemicals that make the blood vessels leaky and send the mucous glands into overtime. As a result, the nasal passages become swollen and choked with secretions Cold symptoms reach their peak after 36 to 72 hours and include: Dry – scratchy sore throat (usually the first sign of a cold) Runny nose and sneezing – Hoarse voice – Blocked snuffly nose – Cough – Mild headache – Mild fever Generally feeling unwell or muzzy headed – Symptoms should start to improve after three days and be gone after about seven days (but they may persist for up to two weeks).

As many as one in four people with a cold don’t develop any symptoms, possibly because their immune system doesn't react to the virus in the usual way.

It's easy to confuse a cold with flu, but in general flu is more severe and produces a higher fever (above 38oC) and more generalised symptoms throughout the body such as aching muscles, lethargy, shivers, nausea and vomiting.

The treatment:

Despite decades of research, there's no simple cure for colds. The antibiotics used against bacterial infections don't have any effect on viruses, and antiviral drugs used for other viral infections aren't useful against the viruses that cause colds. Most colds resolve rapidly on their own, but there are things you can do to make symptoms less unpleasant. Keep well hydrated – being dehydrated can make a cold feel much worse, so drink at least eight glasses of water a day.

Use a humidifier to stop central heating from drying out the mucous membranes lining your nose and upper airways – Treat nasal congestion by inhaling steam, using vapour rubs. Simple analgesia such as Paracetomal should be used judiciously after the correct Homoeopathic remedy has been selected and used.

Get plenty of rest, and eat regularly to keep energy levels from flagging The benefits of vitamin C supplements for both the prevention and treatment of colds remains controversial.

A recent review of more than 30 studies showed that during periods of intense stress people cans half their risk of catching a cold by taking vitamin C. But there's only a very minor effect on the duration and severity of symptoms once someone has the infection. – Some people argue that much higher doses of vitamin C need to be taken 3 x 1 gram over a day for 3 or 4 days as soon as contact has been made or at the first signs of a cold is required to be effective.

Other believe that a hot toddy consisting of grating '<> an ounce of fresh ginger root a whole lemon and a spoonful of honey covered with boiling water and strained after a few minutes helps to increase the body temperature in order to overcome the virus.

There are those who use the cold as an opportunity to cleanse the body so start a 3 day fast drinking only fresh fruit juices and taking the appropriate Homoeopathic and Biochemic remedies. I would advise using all three methods if the cold is severe or flu like. Also read the free e-book on influenza which can be downloaded at.


Aconite napellus: Early stages of a cold, first sneeze or first shiver – if symptoms are intense and come on suddenly. Exposure to cold and wind may precipitate the illness. Symptoms include a dry stuffy nose with a hot thin discharge dropping from the nose – tension in the chest – a scratchy throat – and choking cough. Patient feels thirsty – chilly – anxious – agitated – worse stuffy atmosphere

Allium Cepa: Paroxysms of sneezing – watery eyes that sting – a teasing cough much sneezing – streaming runny nose with clear discharge that irritates the nostrils and upper lip making them raw and sore – the rawness may extend to throat and chest. Patients are often hot – thirsty – headachy – nose usually runs when indoors or in a warm room – stops in open air – generally better in open air.

Arsenicum album: Patients who have frequent colds, sore throats chest problems with burning pain and feelings of weakness restlessness – and anxiety may benefit from this remedy. Head may feel hot while the rest of the body is cold extremely chilly – thirsts for frequent sips – worse nearer midnight. The nose often feels stopped up and the person may sneeze repeatedly, without relief intense tickle inside nose at one spot – thin – watery – burning discharge.

Arsenicum iodide: Extreme restlessness – anxiety – fear – worse in warm bed. Confusion – delirium – Patient cannot remain calm or in one position for long. Chills flushes of heat – fever and sweats – night sweats – perspiration causes yellow stained clothes – Severe fluent coryza – discharge irritating and corrosive Sneezing and prostration burning in pharynx – tonsils & glands swollen – hoarse racking dry cough tight chest – generally feels worse stuffy rooms any exertion (but desires to move about) generally feels better from eating (has an increased appetite) and open air – very similar to Arsenicum

Arum Triph: Colds with Watery eyes – Nose totally blocked breathes through mouth – yet has an acrid discharge which excoriates inner and outside of the nostril and upper lip – large scabs form high up in nose – Pain above root of nose – bores nose until it bleeds – Lips cracked and peeling – corners of mouth cracked picks at lips and nose until they bleed – Excessive salivation mouth burns saliva acrid – palate feels raw – raw sore throat – hoarse and hawks up much mucous Sub maxillary glands swollen – bores head into pillow – suppression of urine .Generally worse by talking cold winds – heat – laying down

Belladonna: Sudden onset of a cold – with fever – flushed face and restlessness – Nose swollen – small amount of watery discharge the throat raw and sore – A hard or persistent dry tickling cough bright red sore throat – throbbing headache or ears. The person may be sensitive to light – drowsy or – delirious with the fever – thirsty

Dulcamara: Colds after getting wet and chilled – or over heated – if colds come on when the weather changes – severe sneezing – eyes are red and sore – eyes and nose both stream – especially indoors and in a warm room – neck stiff – throat sore pains in back and limbs – a stopped-up nose and face pain are likely.

Euphrasia: Redness and heat of cheeks – chilly – cold – sweat mainly on chest area – night time during sleep – bursting – catarrhal headache red – watery irritated eyes – itching – frequent sneezing profuse clear nasal discharge & violent cough from irritation with abundant amounts of phlegm – gags or vomits from hawking up mucous which is worse morning time – Generally feels worse evenings indoors by warmth

Ferrum phosphoricum: This tissue salt often stops a cold from developing if taken right away when symptoms start in conjunction with Natrum Mur 6x. It is also helpful during colds that are more advanced when the person feels very weary with a moderate fever rosy cheeks – sneezing – and a short hard cough.

Gelsemium: Lethargy and aching – with headache and droopy eyes Fever and little chills run up and down the spine – hot and cold by turns – heat or pressure may be felt in the face and nose – headache with heavy feeling in limbs – often trembles and is shaky – or feels extremely dull – colds during hot weather.

Hepar Sulph: Exposure to cold dry weather precipitates cold -affects nose – ears – throat and chest – sneezing is often triggered by cold winds mucous watery at first then becomes thick and yellow -nose becomes swollen – painful – Symptoms are worsened least draught of cold air uncovering limbs – hypersensitive – irritable

Kali bichromicum: This remedy is usually indicated for later stages of a cold with thick – stringy mucous that is difficult to clear from the nose and throat constant hawking – The patient may experience pain at the root of the nose or hoarse coughing with stringy – tenacious expectoration – feels better from resting and keeping warm

Kali Iodatum: Colds from every exposure – especially to damp;

violent sneezing watery acrid discharge – eyes smart and water severely – nose red and swollen; frontal headaches or pain at the root of the nose – face red – hot and cold by turns; heavy thirst – worse from heat

Mercurius solubilis: Patient extremely sensitive to temperatures, and experiences night sweats and drooling during sleep – sneezes violently – nose drips – fluent corrosive – nose red – raw – swollen -shiny sore throat – voice hoarse Swollen lymph nodes and bad breath. The tonsils or ears often become infected

Nux vomica: Cold and hot by turns – very chilly cannot get warm shudders after cold drink or least movement – nose alternately blocked or running – streams in the daytime and warm room – stuffed up at night – rough throat – harsh cough patient is irritable impatient and sensitive to odours – sounds – light

Phosphorus: Colds often start in the throat or chest – Sneezing cause’s pain in throat or head – nose red – alternately blocked or running or one or the other nostril discharges – Hoarseness Laryngitis – sore throat – tightness of chest – thirst for cold drinks feels better from massage – feels weak – anxious or fearful when ill.

Pulsatilla: Persistent Colds producing thick – bland – yellow or greenish mucous which is profuse outdoors – Nose feels stuffed indoors and runs in open air – Pains in face and nose – chills up and down back – patient feels worse in a warm or stuffy room improvement from going outdoors – Congestion and fever often are worse in the evening – cheeks are hot and lips become chapped Loss of appetite taste and smell.

Rhus toxicodendron: Fearful and restlessness at night – thirsty more so at night. Cold drinks may bring on chilliness or coughing violent coryza – colds which begin with stiffness and body aches especially during cool damp weather or weather changes – Nasal congestion or sore throat – hoarseness – rawness and roughness worse on first beginning to talk – The patient feels extremely restless and often paces or fidgets. Warmth and motion bring relief – both physically and mentally.