What is a cold?

Runny Nose

The common cold. One of the world’s biggest mysteries. We know how to treat the symptoms, but we still haven’t found a cure despite the misery suffered by millions every year. A runny nose, headache, muscle pain and a sore throat. It can make you feel totally helpless. And, the spread of it during cold and flu season can cost companies millions of dollars every year with out-of-action employees.

A sore throat is usually the first sign. Soon after, a runny nose creeps up. Once you’re in the full grips of a cold, your whole body can begin to ache. We’re all too familiar with the symptoms, but how many of us know the true causes of this mini body breakdown? Here, we delve into the science behind the common cold.

The science bit


A cold is an infection in your upper respiratory tract, which primarily affects your nose. Colds are caused by rhinoviruses, the most common viral infective agents in humans. And not to cause alarm, but there are an amazing over 200 rhinoviruses at play when it comes to a cold. Present in the air around us and on the things we touch, the agents spread far and wide in rapid time, which is why so many of us can be affected at once. The viruses get into the protective lining of our nasal and throat passages triggering our immune system to react. And this reaction manifests itself as a runny nose and sore throat. So, although the symptoms might make you feel terrible, it’s actually your body trying hard to defend and repair itself.

What can you do to help yourself?

As yet, there’s no cure for a cold, so the best you can do is treat the symptoms you have. And to help keep your immune system in tip top condition you should eat a balanced diet, keep your body well hydrated and make sure you get enough sleep - it all helps. Products from the Lemsip range work to reduce and relieve the most frustrating symptoms like a runny nose, sore throat, headaches and pain.