• Linda Hall

7 things I learnt about colds whilst NOT walking

Unfortunately the miles are on temporary hold due to the dreadful cough/cold bug that appears to be doing the rounds at the moment. My commiserations to anybody else that has this.

But determined not to waste valuable blogging time, here are some documented thoughts on colds.

1 The name ‘Cold’ came into use in the 16th Century due to the similarity between its symptoms and those of exposure to cold weather.

2 It would appear colds have been with us since humans gathered in any sort of community - at least since the Iron Age onwards. The ancient Greek physician Hippocrates believed colds were caused by a build-up of waste matter on the brain. Early European ideas considered the cause to be an accumulation of fluid in the body that was expelled via the nose.

3 From ancient Greece to mediaeval Europe, blood-letting, leeches and more palatable treatments like chicken soup have all been used in attempts to ease recovery. For at least 3,000 years, the Chinese have treated blocked noses with Ma Huang, a plant often brewed as tea. It contains pseudoephedrine, commonly used in modern over-the-counter cold remedies as a decongestant.

4 Some mediaeval practices were inadvertently useful. In the Middle Ages, some Christians believed the soul would leave the body during sneezing, so cold sufferers were urged to cover their mouths - a custom which would have prevented the spread of viruses.

5 Mrs Beeton's book of home management published in 1861 lists infallible, efficacious remedies to include such ingredients as linseeds, rum and vinegar.

6 It was Benjamin Franklin, the noted polymath, scientist and Founding Father of the United States, who conducted studies into the common cold and concluded that it was transmitted through the air between individuals.

7 More recently the Common Cold Unit, a research institute near Salisbury, Wiltshire, was set up to understand the condition and operated from 1946 to 1989. The unit went on to identify coronaviruses and rhinoviruses as the two most frequent causes of colds. Many of the treatments found on supermarket shelves today have been developed in the wake of the institute’s studies and sales of winter cold remedies are considered to be a staggering £532m.

My friend flew to Barbados with this cold before Christmas and told me that within 2 days the cold was gone. So whilst sitting with my box of tissues and a steaming mug of lemon, I’m thinking that maybe a hot holiday in a hot climate should be added to the cold remedy list.

I have a lot of miles to make up for my few days off, but the longer days are just around the corner and I will be able to fit in a couple of walks a day. Roll on summer🌞


I'm walking the 1,000 mile challenge to fundraise for 3 great cancer charities, supporting their life-saving work. Sadly, cancer affects too many people, so I'd appreciate any donations, no matter how big or small. Visit my donate page if you'd like to make a contribution. Thank you.

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